PARENTS
07/12/2013 05:14 pm ET

Lexi Haas, 11-Year-Old, Denied Museum Access Because Wheelchair Would Dirty Carpet

An 11-year-old girl was barred from a museum's exhibits because an employee said her wheelchair would dirty the carpet.

Lexi Haas of Charlotte, N.C., was visiting the Ships of the Sea Museum in Savannah, Ga., with her family on July 7 when a woman at the desk said Lexi would have to use a museum wheelchair, WBTV reports.

However, since Lexi is unable to sit up on her own, she was unable to use the museum's strapless wheelchair, according to the station. The museum then proposed that Lexi watch a video outside while the rest of the family checked out the displays, but the family declined.

"We didn't get to see the museum and my daughter's feelings were hurt," Lexi's dad, Ken Haas, told The Huffington Post.

The museum confirmed the incident and issued a public and private apology for the employee's behavior and misunderstanding of museum policy.

Instead of filing a complaint, the father said he accepted the apology and used the encounter to raise awareness.

"I'm happy people are more aware of disability rights and that's plenty for me," he told HuffPost. "I didn't want anybody to get fired. I wanted them to update their policy and their way of thinking."

Lexi has Kernicterus, a condition in which yellow pigment collects in brain tissue and causes neurological impairment. Lexi cannot speak well but can communicate "yes" or "no," Haas said, and she was fully aware of what transpired.

"She's not thinking about this," he said, reiterating that "there wasn't any real damage."

"We like museums. We just want them to include everybody," he added.

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