I9 UPDATE: Iowa City parent says she raised concerns to District months before DOJ investigation

Published: Dec. 14, 2017 at 5:37 PM CST
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A parent says it's time for Iowa City Schools to make improvements to its playgrounds. Last night I9 revealed Iowa City School District leaders learned of a federal investigation into their playgrounds.

On Monday, I9 filed an open records request with the District concerning whether or not their playgrounds comply with federal accessibility guidelines for kids with disabilities. The next day, the District notified school board members about the federal investigation but a parent says she brought potential playground issues to the district months ago.

Melissa Krishnan of Iowa City posted a video online that she says shows that her 4th grade child Isaiah can't play on the playground at his own school, Shimek Elementary.

"I shot the video because I have been continually raising awareness and concerns related to the playgrounds throughout the district," said Krishnan.

Krishnan claims she reached out to district for months prior to the playground opening to make sure the space was fully accessible to students like her son.

"Other parents come up to me and say that my child can't access the playground either and they have to carry them to certain components like a swing," said Krishnan.

On Tuesday the District emailed school board members, informing them that nearly a month ago, officials with the Department of Justice had visited the district to investigate their playgrounds. It doesn't say specifically what the feds are looking for but the note ends by saying they're beginning a process to evaluate their current playground policy and will form a committee.

"It's really unfortunate it's come this far," said Krishnan. "I think its important because its representing not just one student but all students throughout the Iowa City District."

Krishnan says she hopes whatever investigators find, it leads to changes so situations like this don't happen again.

I9 reached out again Thursday to the District asking for comment and they told us in part at the earliest the DOJ will send their findings at the beginning of next year.