My mom has a disability, and when she came to Marlborough for Parents’ Night of Classes, she was told to park in a non-handicap spot that doesn’t set aside space for her to exit the car comfortably and physically requires her to walk farther. She was told that she had to call ahead to reserve a handicap space. When she brought the issue to the attention of the administration, they put her on the list of those
for whom the handicap spots are “permanently reserved,” but these spaces should always be saved for people who need them, regardless of whether or not their names are on a list. This event just further illustrates the ignorance that the Marlborough community has regarding the needs of people with disabilities.
Marlborough emphasizes the importance of understanding our own privilege, but the discussion of privileges often ignores privilege awarded to able-bodied people. Ignoring those with disabilities creates a student body that is content in ignoring the consequences of taking handicap spaces from those who need them. The administration’s inability to actually reserve handicap spaces for those who need them undermines their attempts to educate students about privilege.
Recently, I arrived at school a little late, and all the student parking spaces were taken. The security guards told me to park in a handicap space. I was taken aback by the blatant re-purposing of handicap spaces for convenience. I am completely capable of parking off campus and walking. I should have been instructed to park on Arden or Muirfield.
By telling able-bodied students like myself to park in handicap spaces, the School is fueling ignorance that I’ve seen my mom fight throughout my life. Nearly everyone my mom confronted who parked in handicap spaces justified their actions by saying they were “just running in,” something my mom would’ve loved to be able to do. I fear that the lack of enforcement regarding the School’s policy towards handicap parking will allow students to go out into the world fueled with the same “just running in” mindset of those whom my mom has spoken to.
The students who park in handicap spaces probably do not realize the implications of their actions; this ignorance to the consequences of one’s actions is something I’ve seen throughout my entire life, and I would like to see Marlborough work towards a solution, rather than remaining a part of the problem.