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The Campanile

Paly facilities should be more accessible for people with physical disabilities

One of the most gratifying benefits of attending Paly is the myriad facilities students can utilize, from the extensive gymnasium to the multistory Media Arts Center. However, many Paly buildings currently lack automatic push buttons for doors, with the exception of the recently constructed library.

Although not mandatory under the Americans with Disabilities Act or the California Code of Regulations, push buttons can play an integral role in granting more accessibility for students with physical disabilities.

The Campanile believes Paly ought to allocate funding to install push buttons in buildings throughout the campus to improve accessibility. According to Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson, as required by state law, Paly offers numerous accessible facilities for students with physical disabilities, including a pool lift, elevators and ramps. Additionally, special education teacher Celeste Jauregui said students with disabilities in the Palo Alto Unified School District Future program are provided aides to help them navigate around campus.

Not only will installing push buttons provide convenience for those unable to physically open doors, but push buttons will allow students with disabilities to gain greater independence. According to Jauregui, with push buttons, these students will be able to access facilities on their own without needing an aide to open doors, allowing more freedom for these students while also saving them time. While installing push buttons might be costly when applied to every entrance at the school, at a minimum, these utilities should be added to the doors of the Futures program classrooms, which would allow Futures students to more easily access their own classrooms on a daily basis.

Furthermore, the entrance doors to the gym, Media Arts Center and the Performing Arts Center should also have push buttons, as these facilities are commonly used and the location for many events.

In addition to the lack of push buttons, transportation across campus for students with disabilities can also be difficult.

According to Special Education Classroom Aide Donna Alkadri, when students are dropped off by their bus in the morning, getting to the Futures classroom involves hectic navigation through bikes, cars and, now, construction vehicles.

In order to provide Futures students with safer means of traveling to their classes, The Campanile suggests adding designated student walkways in the parking lot, which will not only benefit those with physical disabilities, but also anyone walking there in general.

However, since this might prove to be a difficult addition logistically, these paths can simply be painted or clearly defined.

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