And now the time has come for Christos Papathanasiou to attend high school. But which high school should he go to?
Christos Papathanasiou, rather prophetically, graced the front page of “Peloponnisos” on December 3, 2021, in our newspaper’s feature with the title: “The disability of a city”. With Christos, who was accompanied by his mother, the director of the 12th Primary School of Patras, Marianna Bartzaklis, we wandered around the city to show the lack of accessibility for people with disabilities in Patras.
Then mother and son had expressed their anxiety about where Christos will attend high school. In fact, his mother, in order to prevent his exclusion, had taken care in time, since last January, to address the 2nd Gymnasium of Patras (Three Admirals) and in collaboration with the director, Antonios Geranios, documents had been sent to the Municipality with a request to create a suitable toilet and an elevator, so that Christos can go to school.
From “P”‘s tribute to the inaccessibility of Patras on December 3, 2021, starring Christos Papathanasiou
REQUEST FROM JANUARY
Mrs. Bartzakli visited the school the day before yesterday to see if the conditions had been secured and found that 12 days before the start of the school year, the toilet was unfinished and no preparatory work had been done for the installation of the lift.
“As a mother I expressed my anxiety about what will happen to my child. The municipal authority responsible for school buildings did not like this. The school principal did everything to make the school ready, but that is not up to him. Since January we filed a recorded request with the Municipality, eight months were not enough to build an elevator? Let the municipal authority look for who is responsible for the delay and for the oligarchy instead of shooting its arrows at us parents. The document is recorded and cannot be disputed. We’re living in 2022 and parents who happen to have a child with mobility issues are looking for a way to get their child to school?”
Ms. Bartzakli contacted us on Tuesday evening, after having previously contacted the competent authorities of the municipality, but without finding a response.
A publication on her personal social media provoked the reaction of municipal officials who reported that they had done the right thing on their part (the relevant announcement follows).
Municipal councilor Iulia Syrokosta hastened to publicly write that she is ashamed of the incident and to apologize to the child and his mother. The deputy regional governor, Charalambos Bonanos, also intervened, asking to ensure access, so that Christos could attend high school.
As Mrs. Bartzakli told us, some developments were launched yesterday: “I was informed that the toilet will be completed and that the process of installing the elevator will also begin. However, in cooperation we had with the school director, he told me that he will make sure, in consultation with the teachers, that the technology course is taught on the ground floor in Christos’ room. The same will apply to the computer class – the room for which is on the 2nd floor – as long as it is theory. When the internship begins, it will be taught remotely via computer.”
THE RESPONSE OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF PATRAES – IT DOES NOT RECOGNIZE A LITTLE OF ITS SERVICES
For the municipal authority, the noise created for the exclusion of Christos from the school he will attend, is “unjustified”. The worst of all is that he accuses the mother who raised the issue and those who bothered with it of trying to “use the shortcomings that exist to discredit the unprecedented work of the municipal authorities in schools”.
The municipality’s announcement states the following: “The toilet for the disabled student has been planned for a long time, the construction and access work has progressed (ramp, plumbing) and according to the planning of our technical services, it will be ready by next Monday.
As is known in our city, there is no school that has a disabled student, without access to the toilet, and there won’t be as long as the people of Patras trust us with their vote.
Also, the financing of the installation of an elevator has been foreseen by the School Committee of Secondary Education of the Municipality, the issue of cost has never been raised by anyone and the licensing procedures provided for by law have been initiated.
Any delay in the installation of the elevator is due to the fact that it requires additional permits due to the age of the building, which are time-consuming and are not removed by the fact that a student with a disability will attend.
The principal of the school in collaboration with the IT and technology teachers have taken all measures so that the student does not lose a single hour of his lessons until the lift is installed.
The school in question has been renovated, it is literally a jewel in the center of the city, its courtyard area has also been renovated and its courts have been reconstructed and modernized, which are enjoyed by the student youth.
We point out that one of the two proposals submitted by the Municipality of Patreon as part of the Tritsis program in the amount of 1 million euros, which is under approval, concerns the accessibility of the disabled in all the schools of the city and demonstrates the sensitivity of the municipal authority and the practice her concern for all students…
The shortcomings of schools are due to the chronic indifference of governments and in particular to underfunding by the state. Any approach to the issue that hides this great and painful truth is from the wicked.”
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