- MCPS Board of Education, Montgomery County Government, and Maryland Board of Education
- United States of America
My name is Catherine Contreras. I have been a student intern in the special education programs at Wootton for 3 years now, and I am also chapter president for the Best Buddies Wootton chapter. The special education programs at Wootton fulfill the needs of 26 students with disabilities. These 26 students are my best friends, which is why I am here, to be the voice of students who don’t often get the opportunity to have a voice. Just because these students aren’t able to express their voice, like I am today, does not mean they shouldn’t have a say on issues that directly affect them.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law 30 years ago. The ADA states that all public entities must be ADA compliant, yet a majority of public schools in Montgomery County are not ADA compliant. The lack of ADA compliance not only puts my 26 best friends at risk but, it puts thousands of students with disabilities all over the county at risk. When a student enters a school building they should feel safe and like they belong there. Students with disabilities should not have to struggle when entering MCPS buildings, traveling the halls, or attending school events. They should feel safe and welcomed, just like any other student. Students with disabilities can't learn and feel safe in these buildings because these buildings are constantly putting them in harm's way and at a disadvantage.
High school is supposed to be a time where people grow and learn to become independent. Our goal is to make students with disabilities independent, yet they can’t even push themselves in their wheelchairs, due to uneven door entrances and ramps that are steeper than they should be. The lack of ADA compliance not only puts students with disabilities at a learning disadvantage but also at a social disadvantage.
I cannot bring most of my friends to school events because of the lack of ADA compliance in Montgomery County. As previously stated, the ADA has been a federal law for 30 years now, yet public schools in Montgomery County are still not ADA compliant. Why is this taking so long? Within the last 2 years, we’ve had people from the council, board of education, and other officials come to Wootton and promise that change will happen, yet no change has happened. Our students and students all over the county are still struggling to access their school buildings. The lack of care and attention for the ADA and students with disabilities in Montgomery County is unacceptable. Enough is enough! Everyone deserves the right to an education, and the lack of access to a building should not be the reason someone does not get a free equal education.
Tell MCPS Board of Education, Montgomery County Government, and Maryland Board of Education, to make public schools in Montgomery County accessible to the public, not just accessible to people without disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act has been federal law for 30 years now, and Montgomery County Public Schools are still not compliant with the ADA standards. These public school buildings are used for education, voting, and emergency shelters, meaning thousands of people with disabilities are being denied these rights. The county and state must allocate more money into fixing ADA compliance issues in Montgomery County Public Schools to ensure the safety of people with disabilities in Montgomery County, Maryland. The ADA is not a suggestion, it is a federal law.
The ADA Compliance at Public Schools in Montgomery County, Maryland petition to MCPS Board of Education, Montgomery County Government, and Maryland Board of Education was written by Catherine Contreras and is in the category Civil Rights at GoPetition.