Iowa Supreme Court rules blind student should be allowed at Palmer

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The Iowa Supreme Court ruled Davenport-based Palmer College must make accommodations for blind students.

Aaron Cannon said Palmer College told him he could not pursue training at their school, because the ability to see was necessary to be a chiropractor. Cannon, who is blind, filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging discrimination.

“We believe Palmer’s policy of requiring vision blatantly discriminates against the blind,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind.  “Blind individuals have successfully practiced as chiropractors for several decades, and many of them have graduated from Palmer.”

The Davenport Civil Rights Commission previously ruled Palmer had discriminated against Cannon. That decision was later reversed in a Scott County District Court ruling in favor of the school, which argued vision was needed for reading X-rays, MRIs and other medical images.

In a 5-2 decision handed down Friday, June 27, 2014, Iowa Supreme Court Justice Daryl Hecht said Palmer had previously graduated blind students, and that at least 20 percent of all chiropractic offices did not offer medical imaging such as X-rays.

Dissenting Justice Thomas Waterman said the decision was that put political correctness ahead of common sense.