City Paper is not for tourists
Removal Plan In October, a U.S. District Court judge ordered the D.C. Public Schools administration to make the restrooms at River Terrace Elementary School accessible to wheelchair-bound students like Freddy Ramirez. It had been more than a year since officials had begun wrestling with ways to make the school compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Last school year, lawyers for another wheelchair-bound River Terrace student argued in a confidential administrative hearing that a large curb blocked access to the school’s play equipment, and suggested that the school build a ramp to make the area accessible. Schools officials began the job last summer by removing the playground’s swing sets and monkey bars. Unfortunately, they never replaced them—leaving behind a pockmarked rectangle of pavement. “Is this the way of making the playground compliant—by just removing it?” asks one source involved in the hearings. Schools spokesperson Devonya Smith says school officials were actually solving another problem by taking the play out of the playground. She says they removed the equipment because it had “deteriorated beyond repair”; they hope to replace it in the next few months.