Report: Many New York City Elementary Schools Do Not Comply with ADA
A recent report issued by federal prosecutors reveals that many of the public elementary schools throughout New York City are woefully non-compliant with Americans with Disability Act (ADA) standards when it comes to giving students with disabilities equal facility access.
Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, sent a letter to the school district outlining the results of a two-year long investigation into the accessibility of the elementary schools throughout the system. Not only did officials find that the district is inadequate in terms of compliance, but it has completely ignored the requirements of the ADA in some circumstances. This means children with disabilities and their families are denied the basic right of equal access to a public education.
In the 14-page letter sent to the district, Bharara mentions that approximately 83 percent of elementary schools in New York City do not meet accessibility standards. As a result, many children with disabilities are forced to travel away from their neighborhoods to schools that do meet these standards, neighborhoods where they are away from their friends and their comfort zone. Because they are located farther away from home, they also are not able to take part in the same sorts of extracurricular activities after school, and it is more difficult for parents to come to school events, including parent-teacher conferences.
As a result of these findings, the U.S. Attorney’s Office asked the New York City Education Department to take several immediate steps to address its compliance failures. First and foremost, the city is being asked to create a comprehensive plan to survey all of its elementary schools and create a systemwide remediation process to fix all accessibility issues.
The Attorney’s Office recommended the city focus on issues such as increasing accessibility of the first floors of buildings and any rooms used by all students, parents, teachers and visitors, including both classrooms and rooms where events might be held.
This is a more drastic example of the kinds of penalties a school district can face if it does not meet ADA standards. Part of those standards is having ADA compliant signs throughout the property. For more information about these signs or to place your order, contact us today at Erie Custom Signs.