"They've been going out there for over 20 years, and this is the first time that we've had a problem," said Kris Brewer, a parent of a 21-year-old daughter with disabilities.
Each year, the fair has offered a free preschool and kindergarten event where school kids come in during off hours. The kids are usually joined by a group of people with disabilities. But this year, a fair worker made it clear they weren't invited.
"She didn't ask anyone to leave, she said, 'You are welcome to stay this year, but please keep in mind that this program is designed for kindergarten and preschoolers,'" said Milton Ingram, chairman of the Fair Committee.
Ingram said the program states that this year's event is for kindergarten and preschool children only. He also said the decision stemmed from teacher complaints.
"These teachers and preschool coordinators are responsible for these children, and they do have some concerns when adults are out there, mingling amongst the children," Ingram said.
A group of parents with disabled children rallied together in protest Thursday night at the old Wayne County Community College in a standing-room-only gathering to discuss the series of events.
Brewer said the teachers missed out on a valuable learning opportunity to teach the children that there are people different then they are, who wanted to be treated the same.
"We just felt like this was discriminatory toward our mentally handicapped folks," Brewer said.
Ingram said he plans to bring the issue up with his board at its next meeting in November.
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