Halifax School Installs Stairlift Following Student Petition to Improve Accessibility

Lift to basement classroom now in place at Fairview Junior High, HRCE says Gareth Hampshire, CBC News
Posted: Jun 24, 2024

While she might not get to see a new stairlift in action at Fairview Junior High school, the student who campaigned for it is pleased it has now been installed.

“It’s pretty cool,” said 15-year old Lux Melanson, who is about to graduate from Grade 9. “It’s not functional yet, but there is definitely something. There has been work done, it’s obvious to see.”

Melanson was bothered by the fact some students could not access the school’s technology-education classroom in the basement and launched a petition in February.

It called for a lift on the stairs that lead to the classroom so that barrier could be removed for students who use mobility aids.

Now, she said a new railing has been installed down the steps as well as a control panel.

“It’s really nice to see that more students will be able to participate in that class,” she said.

At the time Melanson started her campaign, the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) said it had already recognized the issue and was working through a procurement process.

The HRCE said staff were able to “support all students and deliver curriculum in other learning spaces in the building.”

It initially forecast the lift would be in place by the end of March, but that was changed to the end of May when it was determined a specialty lift would be needed.

HRCE said the lift is now in place.

“Installation and testing of the chair lift at Fairview Junior High has been completed. Inspection by the Department of Labour is the next step and once approved, it will be operational for students,” a statement released to CBC News said.

No timeline was provided regarding when the inspection might take place. Since June is a busy month in schools, HRCE said it could not accommodate a request from CBC News to see the lift.

‘Who cares if I see it?’

Melanson’s mom Anya Nordeen said she is inspired by her daughter.

“She was up against a lot. The fact she saw something was missing is remarkable. The whole family is proud of her,” Nordeen said.

Because of her effort, younger students will realize they can make change and have a voice, Nordeen said.

And it’s those students Melanson is happiest for.

“I have friends that are in lower grades than me and they’ll be able to tell me. And as long as students can access the classroom now and can participate, who cares if I see it?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gareth Hampshire began his career with CBC News in 1998. He has worked as a reporter in Edmonton and is now based in Halifax.

Original at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/stairlift-fairview-junior-high-school-lux-melanson-1.7242392