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Advocacy Spotlight

DRP and Reed Smith Assist Kindergarten Student with a Mobility Impairment in Persuading a School District to Make the Student’s Neighborhood School Accessible

Just in time for the start of the 2021-2022 school year, a Pennsylvania school district installed a platform stair lift at an elementary school to make it accessible for kindergarten student, Luke, and other individuals with mobility disabilities.  Luke has a mobility disability and uses a walker.  When Luke’s family was planning for his enrollment in kindergarten, the school district reported that Luke’s neighborhood elementary school was not accessible to students with mobility disabilities.  Despite that school being the elementary school attended by Luke’s sister and other students in Luke’s neighborhood, the school district told Luke’s family Luke would be “sister schooled” at a different elementary school in the school district.

Facing the prospect of Luke starting kindergarten at a school where none of the students lived in Luke’s neighborhood, Luke’s family contacted DRP.  After DRP and pro bono co-counsel from Reed Smith contacted the school district, the school district reversed course on its plan to “sister school” Luke.  The school district agreed to install a platform stair lift to provide an accessible route of travel between the first and second floors of Luke’s neighborhood elementary school.  Classes started September 1, 2021, and Luke was there with his fellow neighborhood classmates!  The attached photos show Luke testing out the platform lift after it was installed.Young student riding stairlift with other people watching.Young Student in chairlift