Family of disabled child says school told her not to use handicapped spots

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 4/26/2013 6:22 pm Published: 4/26/2013 4:29 pm

A Broken Arrow woman with a disabled child claims she was told she can't park in the handicapped spot at Oak Crest Elementary School.

In a story you’ll only see on FOX23, Sharon Phillips looked into the issue and what’s being done to stop it.

The woman says she was told she can't park in the handicap spaces because they are right in the middle of the school bus loading zone and she was blocking the flow of traffic.

Her doctors never thought she would make it to the age of four, but little Jannessa is proving them wrong. She has a rare disease that causes her to be deathly allergic to carbs and sugar. She's not able to walk and has the mental capacity of a three month old.

“She is actually the first recorded case of that specific strand, so of course doctors don't know too much about it,” her mother Jonica told FOX23.

Jonica suffers from scoliosis and getting Jannessa to school at Oak Crest Elementary each morning is a task in itself.

The handicapped spaces are right in the middle of the school bus loading zone, “I have been waiting until all the buses are out of my way so that I can pull up into the handicapped parking spot."

That is until she said the school told her on Thursday; she can no longer park there.

“The receptionist confirmed that I was not permitted to park there even though I have a handicapped parking-permit clearly visible in my vehicle."

Visibly upset, she filed a complaint with the district. They apologized and told her she could still park there.

“There are some challenges there that we're looking and navigating in terms of the traffic flow and available space," but that doesn't solve the problem.

She says it's dangerous to unload her handicapped daughter in the middle of a bus zone.

FOX23’s Sharon Phillips went to the school to see if there was a solution.

"I've asked them to revisit our parking spaces and look at them to make sure we're in compliance with building code," said Randy Craven with Broken Arrow Public Schools.

Until that happens, Jonica says she is forced to continue taking her disabled child out of the van in the middle of a bus zone.

The school says the safety of its students comes first and if they see an immediate issue they will work to fix it. Because the school wasn't ADA compliant in the first place, all of the students will be moved to another building next year to allow the Oak Crest building to be brought up to code.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 4/29/2013 4:46 PM
0 Votes
Tulsan too :-| Some handicapped are handicapped enough to keep them from driving. Handicapped spots are to benefit the handicapped. That's part of why they hang the permit on the rearview mirror. As for getting bent for educating someone on our dime :-/ what is "spots are the the DRIVER" supposed to mean??? To me it means that some of us don't really get it all the time. But fortunately most of us get enough of it all the time to fill in the rough spots. Wherever however whenever somewhere somehow some way this child is growing into this world. Be nice if we could all welcome her with a smile.

mbgaskins - 4/29/2013 10:08 AM
2 Votes
The accessible parking spaces are NOT just for a driver. While there may be other issues to consider lets not forget that discriminating against the disabled is illegal and a violation of their civil rights. And for the record, it is not the building code the schools need to be concerned with but the ADA, which is a civil rights law... not a building code. They may very well be compliant with the building code but still not in compliance with the ADA. As for location, if the space is a marked space then the buses cannot interfer with the space. Period.

Tulsan Too - 4/28/2013 9:54 PM
0 Votes
The handicap parking spots are the the DRIVER! Not the passenger. Plus, if the child has the mental capacity of a 4 month old, why is she in school? Couldn't the funds be better used for those who can learn and will eventually contribute to society? As a taxpayer, I feel my money could be better spent.

Mayor Maynot - 4/28/2013 8:46 AM
1 Vote
Jonica :-) Thanks for speaking up !.!.! Forgive others for ignoring your albatross as they muddle alongbelieving that they've already done all that they can :~| ... Let's just pray that your close by when they're stuck in the ditch and you can still help pull them out. Oy yay como vas

Mayor Maynot - 4/28/2013 8:28 AM
1 Vote
BAOK1 :-) I'm just guessing you've parked before. Average driver picks a parking spot based on a few basic primary criteria: Will the car fit and how far is it from the door. This woman suffers from a congenital spine disease that quite probably makes it a tedious chore just to take care of some personal I understand the news article she's trying to use the only parking space on that side of the buildingthat is marked for handicapped. What would YOU recommend she do park on the other side of the building and endure ALL the pain that she can h

BAOK1 - 4/27/2013 1:11 PM
1 Vote
Why can't she use any of the other handicap parking spots?

t town253 - 4/27/2013 11:53 AM
0 Votes
Parent and Jonica yall need to take your drama to facebook or myspace....or Judge Judy. Gracious. I wonder if yall would talk to each other face to face as adults rather than blast your drama and blabber like 12 year olds on the internet.

Parent - 4/27/2013 12:07 AM
0 Votes
You first say it was only you and the busses but then elude to the fact there were other cars to pass you. I was in one of those "other" cars. It was not too hard to hear you screaming. Remember it as you may, I am not the only one present to verify your ranting. I understand your need to park in the one parking spot. I understand you don't like where it is located. I don't understand how a person who now speaks so well could have acted so inappropriately around, if not your own child, at least those around you whether on the buses you speak of or the other cars you speak of. Perhaps you simply didn't assess the whole possibility of their being other parents dropping their children off at the same time.

Jonica - 4/26/2013 10:53 PM
0 Votes
Dear Methree, Every child has different learning abilities, but they all have the ability to learn they just process things differently. With children's different abilities, teachers form different ways in order for a student to process what they are learning. The students who are in these special needs classes attend school for two hours and thirty five minutes a day three to four days a week given their learning ability and progress. Your question was not insensitive, it just shows that you are not familiar with this area of expertise and asking is the only way to learn more, which I applaud your desire to expand your knowledge. My daughter is the greatest blessing in my life. She is in no way a "sad situation". I will continue to always fight for her to be treated equally and receive exquisite care.

Jonica - 4/26/2013 10:29 PM
0 Votes
Dear Parent, You claim to be a parent that witnessed the incident that occurred in the back parking lot where special needs children are to be dropped off and picked up. The problem with your claim is only a bus driver, two staff members and myself were in earshot of the conversation, that is unless you have the ability to hear over two school buses running along with several other vehicles. While I waited for the buses to finish unloading and move, several parents were able to drive around me to find parking spots. As you can clearly see in the news clipping there is only one handicap parking spot located in the parking lot where all of the special needs children are to be dropped off and picked up. The one handicapped parking spot they do have in this parking lot is not in compliance with U.S. Federal Guidelines for ADA standards. I did not utilize profanity instead I took matters to the School's front office where most of the story happened. The receptionist had agreed with the staff member in the rear parking lot that I should not be parking there because it was in the way of the buses loading and unloading. I then questioned why it was now a problem since I have been parking there throughout the school year. In which the receptionist went on about the parking spot being in the way of the buses. Since I was not making progress with her, I went above the school. Most of the kids in wheelchairs that attend the school ride the bus, however that is not a reasonable option for my daughter. According to the B.A. school buses guidelines a child can not have tubes connected to them, such as my daughter's food pump. Loading her into a wheelchair beside the vehicle door is nearly impossible without adequate room, which makes a handicapped parking spot necessary. You may stand for mediocre standards, but I do not settle for anything less than the best for my Daughter.
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