Working to Comply Disabilities Law

Ava Harper, Reporter

The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1991, required changes in buildings, schools and how people treat those with disabilities. Bixby Public Schools have tried for many years to make its facilities accessible.

Hayden Snow, facilities manager for Bixby schools, says the importance of accessibility is “to accommodate the needs of all students. Meeting ADA laws is the top priority when designing the buildings.”

When walking around Bixby High School, people may notice the lack of Braille on the outside of buildings and not many wheelchair ramps.

“We haven’t gotten many requests for Braille but we are adding ramps to the schools,” says Snow, adding that workers have recently added a ramp to the Central Intermediate playground.

Snow also talked about his plan to put flexible furniture in classrooms, such as revolving stools and bean bag chairs rather than traditional chairs and desks. Flexible seating has shown to help students with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and sensory processing disorder become more comfortable in classroom environments.

There are examples of far worse violations of the disabilities act around the country. The New York Times says a restaurant in in New York refused to serve an Iraq War veteran who uses a service dog because he has post traumatic stress disorder, even after the man called the police.

The ADA claims other violations include failure to provide wheelchair ramps, restroom accommodations or handrails in walkways. At Lee Snider Field, Bixby’s football stadium, there is no disability access to the press box because no is no elevator. One can only get there by climbing three or four flights of stairs.

Businesses, public facilities, and schools like Bixby have made great strides at making schools accessible, but there is more work to be done.