Force Public Schools to Follow Disability Laws

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I am a high school student and work with the special education students at my school. I love them so much and they deserve the best of everything, but unfortunately, my school and others in the area, and around the US, I’m sure, don’t take that seriously and refuse to follow some (many) of the laws in the ADA, state government, and even that the school board says they abide by. I went through a situation recently where I was left unable to move my legs or get around without a wheelchair. I experienced what they go through everyday, firsthand. For starters, their classrooms are extremely understaffed. As always, budget seems to matter more than students. In general the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a handicap accessible door in all government facilities and public places. It’s even more important because there are 18 wheelchair users at my school. The sped program has to take a long time to get all of the students into school because of this. Every student needs their own staff member, and someone needs to hold the door. After my friends and I started campaigning for more accessibility, the school claimed that accessibile doors were a safety issue (when there was a totally safe plan in place to avoid unauthorized visitors), and recommended we use a wooden block to hold the door open, which is more of a safety issue. With any updates made to the building, disability concerns are required by law to be managed first, and they aren’t. A group of students and I collected data to share with the administrators to try and convince them to get doors at just one hallway entrance, even though it should be at every main entrance and exit. We found 18 law violations from the ADA, our state government, and school board. That is not okay. When we made our presentation, we were told that “accessibility is a convienience and not a necessity” and that “we’ve been like this since 2005, why change now?” These kids don’t deserve it. A lot of them are nonverbal and can’t speak up for themselves at all. As an advocate, I am outraged at the lack of accessibility, respect, and lawfulness. Please join me to make a change.

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