Thursday, March 15, 2012

Don Peek - I Don't Vent Often, But...

Special Needs Topics with Don Peek

This post is authored by Don Peek, a former educator and past president of the training division of Renaissance Learning. He now runs The School Funding Center, a company that provides grant information and grant-writing services to schools. To learn more, or to subscribe to the School Funding Center Grant Database, go to schoolfundingcenter.

I Don’t Vent Often, But…..

A blog is a great thing.  It gives a really even-tempered, laid-back guy like I am a chance to vent his frustrations to the public.  At least my venting will be on topic.  You see, I have a big gripe.  Ever since disabled people got some rights, I believe that creators of parking lots have gone way overboard.  There are so many handicapped spots at some Wal-Mart and Target stores, I believe they could handle small handicapped conventions.

But, you know what?  That’s not why I’m using this blog to vent.  I’m venting because people who are not handicapped in any way whatsoever park in those spaces depriving real handicapped people from using them.  It makes me crazy, and it should you, too.

Handicapped people have two perks that most of us non-handicapped people don’t have.  Depending on their age and circumstances, they may receive a regular check from the government.  The second is that they get to park close to stores and activities in special handicapped parking spaces.  I think stealing a parking space is almost on the same level as stealing one of those checks.

My mother-in-law had a heart attack and a stroke about 15 years before she died.  She had little or no feeling in one hand and one leg.  She still drove her own car sometimes, but my wife and I drove her to the store fairly often.  All too often, we found that the places closest to the stores were already taken.  No handicapped tag on the car.  No special license plates.  No little sign hanging from the rearview mirror.

That’s not all.  Sometimes the cars had the little hanging signs, but the people using them were very obviously not handicapped.  That would have been easy enough for my wife and me to do.  We could have hung the little sign up and been right at the Wal-Mart door.  We often had one in our glove compartment even when my handicapped mother-in-law was not with us.  I don’t remember ever considering it.

For many, many years handicapped people got very little consideration from most of us.  Narrow doorways, no elevators, no special restrooms, no special curricula, no close parking spaces.  It just really irritates me when people with no physical problems go out of their way to steal the few rights to which handicapped people are entitled.

If you are legitimately handicapped, go to the doctor and get a sign.  If you have someone with you who has a back problem, is extremely overweight, has weak knees, or some other problem, drive them to the entrance and let them out while you park in a proper space.  If you see people parking in handicapped spaces and their vehicles have no handicapped sticker or sign, turn them in.  If you absolutely believe they are not handicapped and their car does have a sticker or sign, turn them in.

All too few fines are paid for this offense.  I don’t see the police patrolling too often to make sure the law is followed properly.  I truly believe that if most offenders had to pay just one fine, they would not consider using a handicapped parking space again unless they truly qualified to do so.

Let’s get angry people.  Let’s make sure handicapped spaces are open for use by handicapped people.

Grant Info:
Grant Name:  Finish Line Youth Foundation Grants
Funded By:  Finish Line Youth Foundation
Description:  Giving on a national basis in areas of company operations, supporting organizations involved with athletics and youth development. Special emphasis is directed toward programs designed to promote active lifestyles and team building skills; and camps designed to promote sports and active lifestyles, and serve disadvantaged and special needs kids.
Program Areas:  After-School, Disabilities, Health/PE, Special Education
Recipients:  Public School, Other 501(c)(3)

Proposal Deadline:  3/31/12

Average Amount:  $1,000.00 - $75,000.00

Contact Person:  Micca Stewart, Program Director

Availability:  All States

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