Parents Of Monahans Child Upset Over Non-ADA Sidewalk At Public School 5/23/13
CBS 7 News
May 23, 2013
MONAHANS-Life for one nine-year-old girl in Monahans has never been easy. A rare condition had her fighting for life before birth and bound to a wheelchair for life.
Now it's even harder at school, where construction has left her without a handicap ramp to get to and from the gym. The school says it's not up to ADA regulations, but there are no plans to fix it right now.
This is what has hope's parents so angry -- plywood boards placed over dirt in lieu of a concrete sidewalk at Tatom Elementary. The concrete path has been blocked off for nearly two months while the school expands--it's a route that students cross everyday to get to the gym.
“These look like some old boards they found somewhere in the school system, said Angel Santiago, father of the disabled student in Monahans. “They threw them on the ground and that was it.”
We asked the superintendent if he knew about the concerns. He said he thought they were resolved with the boards. We asked him if the pathway was ADA compliant.
“The plywood sidewalk is not compliant,” said Superintendent of The Monahans-Wickett-Pyote Independent School District Keith Richardson. “It is a temporary sidewalk to deal with the construction.”
We did some digging and spoke with another former student with disabilities who graduated from Monahans High. He said there are many areas throughout the school system that are not ADA accessible.
"It's sad to see that the grocery store is more accessible to me than the schools are,” said Izak Arreguy, who graduated from Monahans High in 2000. “I don't think they think about it, unless they are in our shoes they don't think about it."
Richardson told us that they only put up the temporary sidewalk after complaints from parents. We asked if they plan to make upgrades to the plywood sidewalk.
"With how we saw the wheelchairs rolled across the plywood we saw that for only 3 or so weeks of school at that time that this would be a viable solution,” Richardson said.
The concrete sidewalk should be open again by the first of the school year. a fix hope's parents say make it hard to give her the chance to be just like everyone else.
"I want her to be able to say daddy I got to go to gym today..I got to do PE Today,” Santiago said.
The ADA says even during construction, schools must provide adequate means to disabled students to move around campus.