(WSVN) – He uses his wheelchair to get in and out of school, but the path he used is blocked. By who and can they get away with it? That’s why the family called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
As CJ sits down, his voice stands out.
CJ Fierro: “Welcome back to another great episode of the Pegasus Media Sports podcast.”
To say that CJ is a bit of a sports fan is a massive understatement.
CJ Fierro: “Yes, I’m obsessed with sports. That’s all I think about.”
But while his voice carries his podcast, his legs aren’t as reliable.
Carlos Fierro: “He has a disease called AMC, arthrogryposis, and he suffers from a bone fragility disease where, as you know, his bones can break at any moment.”
CJ’s gait is unsteady. He uses his wheelchair to get around crowded places like school.
Carlos Fierro: “You don’t want him walking around with 5,000 kids. Accidents happen, that’s why we use a wheelchair.”
Everything was great at Cypress Bay High School this year. Carlos took his son to and from school this way.
And then it started.
Carlos Fierro: “One day just one of the buses was blocking one of the two ADA ramps and sidewalks.”
Every day the same two school bus drivers decided to park on the two paths CJ could use to get to his father’s car.
Carlos Fierro: “But now this one path is completely blocked, and this is the other one. They do it not because they have to, but because they want to, which makes a big difference.”
Drivers could stop – there are no buses in front of them – or not park across the path.
Carlos Fierro: “I went to them. I said, “Could you please resign so I can go away with my son?” Her response was, “I can’t resign.” Oh, if you have a problem, call that number, and it was the Department of Transportation number .”
Carlos contacted the Ministry of Transportation. He says they sided with the two drivers who blocked CJ’s exit from the school.
Carlos Fierro: “Now the school has told us that it is out of their hands. There’s nothing they can do because it comes from the district.”
CJ has to take a different path now. In addition, it is not so easy to irritate your father.
Carlos Fierro: “There are some words I can’t say on TV. I mean, you’re blocking a child who has to go through so much in his life. Why would you do that?”
The eloquent CJ has no idea, just a simple request.
CJ Fierro: “Please don’t be so mean and don’t be so cruel. Just move a little.”
Can bus drivers block a student in a wheelchair? Howard?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News Legal Expert: “Legally, it’s complicated. The school must provide access to every program for all students, and it does that by providing further access for students like CJ. This is more difficult for disabled students like CJ. The simple solution is for bus drivers not to park on the path. That’s a sensible solution and that’s what they should do.”
We contacted the Broward School District while Carlos continued to call to help CJ.
Then things changed.
The school district spokesperson told me the problem has been resolved. The bus drivers were told to stop before they reached the path where CJ was crossing.
Carlos Fierro: “Everything is good now.”
We went with Carlos to pick up CJ. As you can see, the drivers blocking the path did as they were told and stayed behind.
Seems simple, but to CJ it means the world.
CJ Fierro: “I’m so happy. I am so relieved. It was a great day, I think.”
Father and son are happy after we all worked together to solve this Help Me Howard problem.
Carlos Fierro: “I’m so glad I called you guys because that really got the ball rolling.”
Nice to meet you both and help you out a little. Now high school officials wanted to help CJ, and the district helped. It just took a while.
As for the drivers who parked over the path, yes…
Are you blocked from solving a problem? You don’t need a podcast to have a voice. Bust us to pave the way for you.
Helping me here is Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org
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