Iowa City Schools settles ADA violations on playgrounds

Updated: Jun. 1, 2020 at 1:01 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa City School Board approved a settlement with the Department of Justice over accessibility issues at school playgrounds.

I9 first reported on the investigation in December 2017, after a parent complained about newly constructed school playgrounds. Specifically, at Shimek Elementary’s playground, wheelchairbound students could not get over a curb to reach the playground and wood chips made it near impossible to get around in a wheelchair.

“Accordingly, the United States has concluded that qualified individuals with disabilities are, by reason of such disabilities, excluded from participation in or are denied the benefits of ICCDS’s programs, services, or activities, and are subjected to discrimination in violation of Title II of the ADA,” the settlement reads.

The investigation looked at newly built or updated playgrounds across the district. As part of the settlement, Iowa City Schools agreed to go back and add improvements to ensure access to play areas and a smooth and level play area. Those updates must be completed by January 2023, according to the settlement.

Here is a list of the projects Iowa City agreed to fix at its playgrounds to ensure accessibility.

Here is what Iowa City Schools says it has already done to meet ADA standards at playgrounds.

The settlement requires Iowa City Schools to get approval on architecture plans and designs for playgrounds from the federal government before work can begin. ICCSD must also submit updates on its effort to the Department of Justice every 6 months for 3 years or until the work is complete under the agreement.

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