Elevator Struggles


Sania Ross

While getting on the elevator with just a few other people may not seem like a lot to many students, for me it creates a stressful and difficult experience.

Sania Ross, Staff Writer

Here we go again. The bell is about to ring and I need to get to class. I hope there’s no one on the elevator who should be using the stairs, because I need to get to the third floor as quickly as possible. Extra people and stops on extra floors mean extra time for me to get where I need to go. And I don’t have a choice but to use the elevator. Fingers crossed. 

As a person with a disability at Paint Branch, I feel like students don’t understand – or perhaps don’t really care – about this issue. For someone who doesn’t need the elevator to fully participate in school, understanding the importance of the elevator for those who do is important.  

The purpose of elevators in schools is for staff and students with mobility issues such as those in wheelchairs or scooters, or for those who have injuries that affect their ability to use the stairs.  Elevators in schools are not planned to be used like elevators in office buildings or apartments as they are intended to be open for only some people to use. 

Students who take advantage of the elevator’s open availability (meaning no key is required to ride it) and use it at will are making it difficult for those who rely on it.  According to signage posted for our school elevators, students may only use the elevator if they: “have a physical disability or health issue or a temporary injury that prevents you from using the stairs.” Despite these clear parameters, students still use the elevator when they don’t apply to them. 

The administrators at PB has implemented some strategies to try and deal with the elevator issue such as requiring passes and placing security nearby, but these efforts have not solved the problem.

I struggle with this issue pretty much every day as I have to either deal with waiting for the elevator to arrive because people who don’t need it are riding it, or deal with students getting on either in front of or behind me in my motorized wheelchair. This makes it difficult for me to maneuver, enter, exit, or access the panel to choose a floor. The frustration from this sometimes ends up with me picking a fight with people just to get on the elevator myself. I won’t even go into how it feels to have the door shut on me when people see me trying to get on.

For me, the elevator provides an opportunity to be independent and travel by myself but when there are people who don’t belong on it making me wait, forcing me to squeeze on, or making me feel rushed it’s frustrating and stressful. I hope those reading this article will better understand the difficulties faced by disabled people and those who truly rely on the elevator. Spread the word that the elevators are for those who truly NEED them.