Looking at accessibility within Cherry Hill schools: Physical Accessibility

November 28, 2022

At Cherry Hill High School East, multiple aspects of the school’s infrastructure are designed to be inclusive for students with physical disabilities. For example, there is an elevator to assist with going to different floors, ramps at major entrances for students to come in and lever door handles on some doors for easier use. In the classroom, teachers wear amplifiers on their lanyards to assist students who are hard of hearing and with students with central auditory processing disorder, and the custodial team provides extra cleaning in rooms where students may have significant allergies, among other measures.

While there has been progress in making East an accessible learning environment for all students, there are more strides that still need to be made to aid students with physical disabilities. For instance, every time a student has to use an elevator, they have to wait for an adult with a key to take them up and down — an inefficient mode of transportation in the limited time between classes. Additionally, the student entrance, which most students use when entering East in the morning, does not have a ramp, making it inaccessible for students with wheelchairs and other students with physical disabilities. Furthermore, many door handles have not yet been replaced with lever handles, making them difficult for handicapped students and staff to operate. This problem has long gone unaddressed, since East only adds lever handles to doors that already require replacement for an- other reason (for example, if one is broken), since the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that any changes made to a school facility must be ADA compliant.

Physical accessibility must be a priority in schools. (Gia Gupta (’24))

Regarding these issues, East Principal Dr. Dennis Perry said that the recently passed bond referendum would make the entire building ADA compliant. The bond has an extensive agenda for making areas at East more accessible: the student entrance, bleachers in the DiBart Gym, new classroom doors with accessible handles, the turf field system and new construction will all be made to be accessible as according to the ADA.

Moreover, within the community there are many organizations trying to provide accessible activities for people with physical disabilities. Popular programs and places within the community include Miracle League and Jake’s Place.

“[The] notion of equity… doesn’t mean anyone… is slighted in any way. It just simply means that everyone is getting what they need,” said Perry. “There is a famous cartoon for equity… It’s three kids trying to look over the fence to watch a game and the kids are at different heights so one is on a taller box so that they could all see the same thing. It’s the same idea.”

It’s time everyone can finally see.

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