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The Gordon School

Positive signs

Fifth grade advocacy syncs with Buildings and Grounds priorities

above: yesterday's fifth and sixth grade newspaper advocated for updated handicapped access signs

It’s nice to be at a school where everyone is thinking about equity, inclusion and representation—and they’re all willing to put in the work that requires.

Exhibit A: when the fifth and sixth grade newspaper reached out to the Buildings and Grounds team to advocate for updated handicapped signs, they learned that Mr. Howard already knew about the preferred logo and had already ordered new signs.

The conversation happened yesterday afternoon. The signs were up this morning.

above: updated signs were in place this morning

The full coverage from the fifth and sixth grade newspaper is below:

A reporter talked to fifth grade humanities teacher Ms. Roterman about the disabled signs around campus:

This is the International Symbol of Access, also known as the Wheelchair Symbol. For decades the ISA showed disabled people where to enter a building, where to park, etc.

There was a movement in 2011 where a group of disability activists started applying stickers all around Boston that replaced the old original icon with a new icon that showed more independence for someone in a wheelchair.

The icon was meant to show more mobility and agency, and change people’s way of how they think about disability.

The older version of the signs are the ones we have around campus.

So there’s this idea of changing the thought around disability. For example, someone who uses a wheelchair isn’t less worthy because they need support. They should be viewed as independent and in control of their lives, even if they need support.

There is this weird idea of independence, that you must be alone, moving through the world without help. My definition of disability is being able to think for yourself, to have opinions.

But back to the icons. What the activists did was illegal. It would be categorized as graffiti.

The argument? Well, the icons that were created in the 1960s are the ones we use around Gordon. The much more inclusive icons can’t be found on campus.

We would love it if someone would reach out to us if someone had more information. This is not just about the bathrooms however. Should we have certain entrances that are more accessible?

This just in! In fact we just talked to Mr. Cicatiello. It turns out he and Mr. Howard already ordered the new icons and they’ll be arriving soon. Till next time!

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