Mom Frustrated With School's Excuses
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 19, 2002
ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND--Last week's Christmas party at Beaconsfield junior high school was supposed to be enjoyable for all of the students.
For seventh-grader Carrie-Ann, however, the experience was humiliating.
Carrie-Ann, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, had to be lifted up the back stairs leading to the stage so she could participate in the concert. The school did provide a portable stair lift, but because Carrie-Ann had to be tipped backwards to make it up the lift, she became "terrified", said her mother, Shirley Bugden. What made it worse was the fact that this took place "in front of everybody".
"As far as Im concerned, theyre treated like second-class citizens," Bugden said of Carrie-Ann and the other five students that use wheelchairs at the school.
Since June, Bugden has been working with the school to make it more accessible for her daughter.
The school has made some improvements, including re-hanging a restroom stall door. But most of the problems still exist.
In a story from the Telegram, a school member seemed to be "talking the talk".
"We not only understand -- we share the frustration that parents are encountering," said Bert Tulk, an assistant board director. "In this day, no child should be denied full participation in any program, curricular or extracurricular, on the basis of a physical handicap."
Tulk suggested, however, that frustrated parents consider moving their children from the local school to one that is more accessible.