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Iowa City district agrees to make school playgrounds ADA-compliant

June 2, 2020
A Justice Department investigation found that many school playgrounds had barriers to accessibility.

The Iowa City (Iowa) School Board has approved a settlement with the Department of Justice over accessibility at its school playgrounds.

KCRG-TV reports that the settlement requires Iowa City Schools to make improvements to ensure persons with disabilities have access to play areas and a smooth and level play area. Those updates must be completed by January 2023, according to the settlement.

The school system also must get approval from the federal government on architecture plans and designs for playgrounds before work can begin, and submit updates to the Department of Justice every 6 months for 3 years or until the playground upgrades are  complete

The Justice Department began an investigation on behalf of several families who complained that newly constructed playgrounds at several elementary schools were inaccessible to children with disabilities.

In one example, at Shimek Elementary’s playground, wheelchair-bound students could not get over a curb to reach the playground, and wood chips made it near impossible to get around in a wheelchair.

The Justice Department looked at 12 school playgrounds as part of its probe.

"The investigation revealed barriers to access for people with disabilities at all of the playgrounds," the settlement agreement states.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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