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The ongoing issue with the elevator

Updated: Apr 11

A couple months ago, an article written by Eagle's Scream staff writer Lucia Allen-Cannone brought a pressing issue at our school into the light: the outdated elevator that had fallen into disrepair. Since the publishing of the article, many parents, students, and staff have advocated for its repair, yet the district still isn’t offering enough support, which has resulted in a lack of change. One parent who is a strong advocate for this issue is Reda Rountree.


Reda had first heard about the broken elevator right before Back to School night in the fall of 2023. “I’d originally planned on visiting campus to meet my kids’ new eleventh grade teachers and see their classrooms,” she stated. “Unfortunately, once I realized the elevator was out, our family decided only their dad would go with them instead. I actually thought it had already been repaired until I read Lucia’s article in Eagle’s Scream and realized it was still out months later.” 


In 2021, Reda got sick with Long Covid. Last year this became so debilitating it forced her to use a wheelchair to move around. “Because I am struggling with becoming newly disabled and I recognize what other people living with health and mobility issues face daily, I’m highly motivated to get our school elevator fixed,” she says. Being the active and involved parent she is, Reda immediately took it upon herself to make this issue right. “It’s not right that we have parents, grandparents and guardians who can’t climb stairs discouraged from attending school events and teacher conferences,” she explains. “It’s not fair that teachers who are dealing with physical limitations from surgeries or health issues are forced to hold classes in completely different locations than their classrooms. And nothing makes me angrier than thinking about the fact that at least ten students who can’t make it to the third floor are now unable to attend certain classes and find themselves completing assignments on Schoology instead of getting a classroom education. It’s like Lucia said in her article, this situation is impacting some students’ ability to learn, and that is unacceptable.”


Reda began making phone calls, doing research, and probing LAUSD officials for answers. She emailed the LA Unified School District ADA Compliance Administrator, who hadn’t even heard there was a problem with our school elevator until the email. When she was able to make an appointment with Jackie Goldberg, the superintendent, Reda was told that “Bond money is used for most LAUSD school repairs.” Although confusing—Reda thought it was more logical to replace the whole elevator instead of having to hunt down antiquated parts every time one of them broke—-the explanation for this is that this money can’t be used for anything new, which forces the school to hunt down different elevator parts instead of replacing the elevator as a whole. Additionally, Jackie Goldberg has requested the district to give the office an estimate on a new elevator so that we might be able to get a grant or access to an allocated fund for ADA compliance.


The fact that this has yet to be resolved for such a long time is a concern for many of the parties involved. It has even drawn the attention of students, one of them being 9th grader Vince Inofinada. Vince has been interested in elevators since he was a little kid, finding an extreme fascination with the broken elevator at our school. He was confused why it was broken after riding it himself and not noticing much wrong besides its lack of maintenance. You can find the video of his experience in the elevator here or visit his channel The Roblox Elevator Channel on YouTube. After asking Mr. Steinorth, he determined that the problem is the shaft, not the elevator itself. “It could be the guide row problem or it could be a guide roller shoe that is having problems in the shaft,” he explains with a passion. Vince, who is knowledgeable about the mechanisms of elevators, is also an advocate for its repair: “I think that the elevator should be repaired soon because it is very important for the students who have wheelchairs or crutches. They need the elevator so they won’t have to climb up the flights of stairs to get to their classes.”


Additionally, Zadie, a 9th grade staff writer here at the Eagle’s Scream, attended a superintendent councils meeting and was able to bring up the issue of the elevator as a topic of concern. The superintendent expressed that the process of repairing an elevator can be long and difficult, sometimes taking months, but shouldn’t be taking as long as it is at our school.


The elevator, which has been broken for almost a year, is scheduled to be fully operational before the end of April. As of April 3rd, ERHS leadership had been notified by the District that state inspectors will arrive to examine the elevator on April 11th. If it passes these final inspections, the elevator could be operational by April 12th. Reda also has dreams of her own: “Whether or not I have children in LAUSD, I want to see administrators and public servants follow through, and make a bigger effort to not allow bureaucracy to dictate the quality of kids’ education.” She vows that she will always think out of the box to help students and schools get what is best for them. “Sometimes that’s what it takes, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

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The elevator is finally fixed! Thanks to everyone who supported the petition, helped me with calls and especially to Lucia and Edith for writing their articles and for being awesome and caring about supporting people with disabilities. ERHS is really fortunate to have such a great school newspaper!

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Thank you for being proactive and highlighting this important cause to get the elevator fixed. Please circulate this petition to your friends, family and everyone you know. Thank you!

https://chng.it/n8Pd48Rsgw

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As someone too who has needed to rely on an elevator I couldn’t imagine not being able to use one. Our school thankfully has an operating one. That’s great news it will be functional again!! It’s important!!

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