Furious grandmother forced to carry granddaughter everywhere after school’s elevator breaks

A St. Louis grandmother says her granddaughter is being humiliated at school every day. Kim Schlink is furious that her 7-year-old granddaughter has to be carried up and down the stairs because the school, Gateway Science Academy South, won’t fix a broken elevator.

“I’m exhausted. I’ve been giving her a piggyback ride up and down the steps and she’s on the third floor,” Kim says in the video below.

The elevator has been broken for months, and wheelchair accessibility in a public school doesn’t seem too much to ask.

Her granddaughter has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. Without an elevator, not only is she regularly embarrassed in front of her peers, but what she is able to do at school is extremely limited.

“At lunchtime, they have to carry her downstairs,” Kim says. “She has to eat in the principal’s office with her friend. She can’t go to the cafeteria and eat with her friends. I’m sure she doesn’t go outside for recess.”

Paraquad, a disability advocacy organization, believes the school is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It’s not dignified. You don’t want to be 7 years old and carried by someone in the building or your grandparent,” says Aimee Wehmeier, CEO of Paraquad. “In 1976, they had to make my school accessible, so definitely in 2018, there would be an expectation that everything would be accessible so all students can have a fair and equitable education.”

The concern isn’t just a matter of convenience, it’s also a matter of safety.

“I’m concerned because if there’s a fire and she needs to get out, there’s no way,” Kim says.

According to Aimee, the family should file a formal complaint to force the school’s hand by way of the law.

“They need to fix the elevator so that my granddaughter can come to school and not feel like it’s a burden,” Kim says.


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