Access To Everyone, Except Some

Age of school leads to accessibility problems in areas

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Cortney Wood

The three areas not handicap accessible are the stairwells leading to the English wing, the math wing and the theatre wing.

Because Rider was built in 1961 and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) was enacted in 1990, Handicap kids have to modify and adapt themselves around the school.

“When our school was being built back in the day, handicap accessibility was not in the codes,” Principal Dee Palmore said. “We have to reorganize ourselves because sadly, our school was not built that way.”

Although the school is old, Palmore said it is handicap accessible everywhere except three places: the English wing, math wing and the theatre wing.

I think we need more ramps. Maybe even a wheelchair lift.”

— Aiden Potter, 9

“We would have to do major construction and there is not any construction planned in the near future,” Palmore said. “We do have an elevator, but it only goes to the second floor main hallway.”

During football, freshman Colton Ward broke his leg and ended up in a wheelchair. Colton had to change his schedule to be able to reach his classes.

“I didn’t have to adapt,” Ward said. “I switched some classes, and for one period my English teacher goes downstairs.”

Although the school is old and the halls are long, Ward never got frustrated of having to travel them every day.

“I had to grow my arm strength, so that it would be easier but I’m lucky my geometry class was on the first floor and not in the math wing,” he said.

We could get a better elevator. I haven’t even seen the elevator here and that seems pretty shady to me.”

— Trinity Kronlein, 10

Ward said that Coach Robbins, on the first floor, had a conference period and so his room was available and empty for Ward’s English class to relocate.

“I was asked if I was willing to move,”  Ward’s English teacher Mrs. Preston said.  “Of course I said yes. This is not the first time I have done this before.”

Even though the school is not handicap accessible in all places, Ward said an elevator in the theatre and English wing in addition to a handicap ramp in the math seems necessary for other people in the future to reach their classes.

Despite that improbable future, Ward and Palmore both said the staff at the school is reliable and eager to help anyone with a situation like Ward’s.

“It’s not an ideal situation,” Preston said. “But I don’t think it is a situation that any teacher at this school would ever refuse to do. A student’s needs always have to come first.”