By Lance Hester, Gig Harbor
Our students deserve safety and equal accessibility. I was a member of the Facilities Planning Committee, a large team that evaluated our schools. Facing the reality of school shootings, like Sandy Hook, I counted 26 unsecured entry points at Peninsula High School. I later learned Gig Harbor has 36!
My boys attend Peninsula. One walks the halls; the other uses a wheelchair. Principal David Goodwin takes security seriously, but he cannot efficiently lock down the building with the press of a button.This is essential technology for the lessons our community has learned from the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida. While it may resonate more dramatically in my mind, whose wheelchair-bound son is particularly vulnerable, all parents, students and educators deserve to know our schools are as safe as we can make them.
At Artondale Elementary, the kindergarten classrooms indoor access requires navigating stairs. Students like my son who can’t walk must exit the building in their wheelchairs, navigate around the back of the building, traverse a ramp, and then finally join their peers who walked the stairs. I feel strongly, and the Americans with Disabilities Acts seems to agree, that students of all abilities deserve basic dignity. Our district needs funds to fix these problems.
I am extremely satisfied with my boys’ teachers and administrators, persevering with excellence, despite building conditions.They deserve a sense of safety, and all students deserve equal access to their school facilities. Please join me and my family in voting yes for the bond!
This transcript taken from the original letter published in the Tacoma News Tribune on April 19, 2018.