School Board Admits Accessibility Errors
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 18, 2006
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA--The Richmond Public School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to admit that the district was not complying with federal accessibility law, and to adopt a plan to make the district's schools accessible.
The action would settle the district's part of a lawsuit that was filed last year against the school board, the City of Richmond, Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, and the City Council.
Two parents, one that has disabilities and the other that has a child with disabilities, along with Citizens for Full Access, filed the suit after a study revealed that only four or five of the district's 60 school-system buildings fully comply with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
Vicki Beatty is a plaintiff in the suit because she wants her son, Davis, to be able to go the same school as his brother. Right now, Davis is going to a separate school because his brother's school is not accessible to him and his wheelchair.
"I just think it's a long time coming. I'm thankful for a very responsive school board," Beatty told WWBT-TV. "My son may have an opportunity to go to school with his brother."
Another plaintiff is Christopher Bacon, a Vietnam War veteran who uses a wheelchair and whose two daughters attend Richmond Community High School. According to the Times-Dispatch, Bacon became frustrated when visiting schools that had no elevators, forcing him to leave his wheelchair and 'hop' himself up and down the interior stairwells in order to meet with teachers.
None of the other defendants in the case have agreed to settle. They are expected back in court next month.
"Richmond Schools settles ADA lawsuit" (WWBT-TV)
"School Board settles lawsuit" (Richmond Times-Dispatch)