Archie Harrop, 11, has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair. His classmates all went on a trip to the Lake District organized by Mablins Lane community primary school in Crewe, a town located in England. Archie’s mother Jo said she was informed the trip wasn’t accessible for him as a result, and he wouldn’t be able to participate in activities.
The school says it was aware of reasonable accommodations for all students. However they said that they had to make “reasonable adjustments” so that students could participate safely.
Archie’s parents said that they fought for him to be allowed to join the trip, even offering to arrange transportation and lodging for him in order for him to be included. However, the school did not change its mind.
Archie’s mother took him on outings when the trip was scheduled last month, preventing him from sitting in class alone. His father James’ social media post received more than 800 comments from people all over the world.
Disabled students are often excluded from school activities. Four year old Adriel Carignan, was born with spina bifida. She uses a wheelchair. A video went viral last year of a holiday concert in New Hampshire. Carignan was left out of the activity. Her peers were gathered in a circle with their backs turned to her.
Unfortunately, I know how exclusion feels. I opted to stay at school when my seventh-grade class went on a field trip to the local skating rink. I watched the Disney movie Bedtime Stories. This was much more accessible.
The same year, my class went to a local park at the end of the year. Most attractions at the park are not accessible. They have pedal boats available, tennis courts, playgrounds and a train.
My mom let me skip school. We went to Red Robin for lunch that day. Afterwards we saw a movie at the theater.
The older I was school functions were often not accessible to me. During my junior year of high school, my English teacher had a pizza party one day before April vacation. My classmate didn’t offer me a slice as he went around with the box. It was frustrating. The teacher did make him offer me a slice once he noticed. The next time we had pizza, however, the teacher made sure I received the first slice.
In 2019, Ryan King was a fourth-grader at Tully Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky. She uses a wheelchair due to spina bifida. Using a wheelchair often makes field trips difficult for King.
While most field trips are accessible, this one was involved a hike. The students were going to see exposed fossil beds along the Ohio River. Ryan’s mother didn’t want her to miss out.
Shelly found a backpack that she could wear that would allow her to carry her daughter on her back. Ryan’s teacher was supportive of the plan.
Another teacher suddenly volunteered to carry Ryan around all day. Jim Freeman said, “I’m happy to tote her around on the Falls all day!”Ryan was able to participate in the field trip with her peers. It was thoughtful of Jim Freeman to carry her around. However, why was an inaccessible field trip planned to begin with?
All children should be included in everything they possibly can. Disabled children deserve to be able to enjoy their childhood. Disabled people should be able to participate in their communities regardless of age.
Aitken, Jennie. “Crewe Couple Angry as Disabled Son Excluded from School Trip.” BBC News, 19 June 2023, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-65921695.amp.
Hughes, Mallory. “An Elementary School Teacher Carried a 10-Year-Old with Spina Bifida on a Field Trip so She Didn’t Have to Miss Out.” CNN, 24 Sept. 2019, http://www.cnn.com/2019/09/24/us/teacher-carries-student-trnd/index.html.
Hayes, Paul. “Christmas Carolers Spread Hope, Love to Local Girl.” Caledonian Record, 25 Dec. 2022, https://www.caledonianrecord.com/news/local/christmas-carolers-spread-hope-love-to-local-girl/article_43bc7282-a97d-5a7d-9097-093e35b1bfa6.htm