Do Public Places Including Schools Have Enough Wheelchair accessibility ?
Hi everybody I wrote a paper for a social studies this week and I thought you would like to see it. The topic was Reform and the first thing I thought of was " Are our public places including schools wheelchair accessible enough? " It is a little formal because it was for a grade I hope you appreciate my point of thought on this issue.
Reform For A More Accessible Community
An issue in America is accessibility in public places including schools. Yes, schools have elevators but what about getting into the building? Some say public places and schools are already accessible but wheelchair users disagree. This particular issue wasn’t even a discussed problem until the early 1960’s when the Civil Rights Movement began. So, one could argue that accessibility has been a long standing issue. ADA (standing for the Americans With Disabilities Act) was not even a thing until the ADA was passed on July 26th 1990. It wasn’t automatic either. It took lot of struggle. ADA was first presented to Congress in 1988 and it took two years to get Congress on board.
There are many reasons why we should support the Americans with Disabilities Act and make public places even more accessible. One, protecting the rights of people with disabilities is not optional. According to the constitution, it is our responsibility, as Americans, to protect the rights for all people since we are all “created equal.” One-fifth of the American population is affected by some sort of disability and the ADA was passed by both democrats and republicans. Secondly, it is crazy that after more than twenty five years since passing the Americans with Disabilities Act, that people with mobility impairments still find themselves physically excluded from public places. For instance, the local movie theater has no elevator to access the upstairs theaters even though new movies are often only shown upstairs. People in wheelchairs want to see movies, too. Even then, elevators are sometimes too small to fit a wheelchair. Many other public spaces are not accessible, like technology and science labs. Not being able to fit down an aisle at the grocery store or open a heavy door leading into a school or public building prevents our participation. Lastly, I know my position is the correct one because simply offering automatic doors and sinks is not enough. Accessibility throughout entire buildings should be required but I know it is not always possible. Accessible bathrooms are supposed to be at least 5ftx5ft. When was the last time you saw an accessible bathroom that big? Think: if the typical able-bodied person had similar issues with accessing a bathroom, there would already have been a change. Having access to a bathroom is a basic human need in our modern world.
Just like people oppose the Civil Rights Acts and the Voting Rights Act, some Americans oppose the Americans with Disabilities Act. The people that oppose this act say that people with disabilities want special treatment. However, we only demand fair treatment and equal opportunities. Two, there are a lot of myths that the ADA requirements are too difficult for business’ to understand. But following ADA laws is no more difficult than following any other law. In fact, there are many free resources available to businesses for funding and training opportunities that would support their ability to follow the law. There are also tax credits available to these businesses. I would say that the government have made following this law pretty easy. You could even say that they made it “accessible.” Finally, many people say that schools and other public buildings are already “accessible enough.” But there are many barriers that prevent wheelchair users from getting place to place. These include steep ramps that make it to difficult to wheel independently (forcing us to ask for help). There are broken sidewalks or curbs leading to buildings, doors that are too difficult to open, large columns that block the field of vision (remember, our heads are only hip-high). Many routes around buildings (school yards and wood chip filled playgrounds) are inaccessible as well.
In conclusion, public places including schools do not have as much accessibility as they think they do. Maybe you will get an opportunity to try out a wheelchair. If you don’t leave that opportunity behind, you will see for yourself why this is an important issue for reform. For now, next time you see someone struggling to get up a hill independently, ask the person if they need a little push (they might say no thank you and if they do, smile and leave them be). Then, maybe you can also give a little push for a good change.