The Hazlet Board of Education honored Isla Newton, the 8 year old daughter of Dori and Jim Newton and a student at Raritan Valley Elementary School, on Monday evening at a crowded BOE meeting at the Beers Street School.
Isla is featured in a national campaign by the National Down Syndrome Society‘, to combat “Law Syndrome” ….antiquated laws and regulations that limit the life options of individuals with disabilities.
Board President William Kolibas Jr announced that he learned about Isla’s role in NDSS’s campaign during a meeting with Mayor Sue Kiley over last weekend and felt compelled to recognize her and her family.
Kolbias presented Isla with a proclamation that reads as follows:
WHEREAS, Isla Newton, a spirited 8 year old student who attends Raritan Valley Elementary School and who is part of a national campaign to update laws and regulations that hold people with disabilities from reaching their full potential in education, employment and self-sufficiency; and
WHEREAS, Isla Newton has been featured in the nation-wide efforts
of the National Downs Syndrome Society, she is featured on print
ads nationally and her image has appeared on the big screen in Times
Square along with a feature in a video ad and most recent publication
in the More Monmouth Musings website; and
WHEREAS, those with Downs Syndrome as well as those with other disabilities risk losing their health care because of antiquated laws currently in place; and
WHEREAS, Isla’s interest to be part of this national campaign to change this “Law Syndrome”, is exemplary and inspiring; and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Hazlet Township Board of Education does hereby recognize, support and applaud Isla Newton and her family and wish Isla continued success in her future endeavors.
The crowd of over 200 parents, students and staff gave the eight year old a standing ovation.
Isla’s future is limited more by antiquated laws than it is by her disability, according to the NDSS. Individuals with down syndrome, and other disabilities, risk losing their health care, Medicaid, if they earn more than $16,000 per year or have more than $2500 in assets. “Law Syndrome” is more of a detriment to their fulfilling futures than is Down Syndrome.
“NDSS is leading this historic national effort by showcasing to the world that Down syndrome doesn’t stop people with Down syndrome — it’s ‘Law Syndrome’ that holds them back,” said NDSS President Sara Hart Weir. “By launching this campaign, we are calling on our leaders in Congress to join our efforts to reform these complex but misguided laws — and to help us change #LawSyndrome.”
As part of the national campaign and lobbying effort, Isla’s photo appears on print ads nationally. Her image has appeared on the big screen in Times Square and she’s featured in this video ad:
Mayor Sue Kiley invited all Hazlet residents to attend the Township Committee meeting next Monday, November 6, when she will present Isla with a proclamation from the Township.
Kiley said she was inspired by the Newtons’ story and Isla’s national notoriety when she read Dori Newton facebook posts. Kiley asked MMM to bring local attention to Isla’s efforts.
“This is what Hazlet is all about,” Kiley said. “We’re a community that supports each other and celebrates our neighbors accomplishments. Isla Newton and her family are Hazlet Heroes.”