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Often alone among her colleagues on the Richmond School Board, Carol A.O. Wolf is now just alone. Appointed to a subcommittee of one, she has been tasked to review the school system's compliance with its 2005 Americans with Disabilities Act court settlement.
Wolf acknowledges that the appointment likely is an attempt by her colleagues to kill two birds with one stone: To give the appearance of making good on its ADA promises to the judge and plaintiffs in the lawsuit, and to quiet Wolf's chain-rattling over the board's failure to act on its ADA promises.
"We are two years into the plan and we have done nothing," says Wolf, whose appointment came early last month. "We have paid for nothing. We have accomplished nothing."
Wolf says she plans to change that -- whether it's by working from within the subcommittee appointment or by taking her complaint of heel dragging by schools officials to the federal government.
"I think it might be [necessary]," Wolf says, to write a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice calling attention to the city's failure to bring schools into ADA compliance. "We're at a point where ADA has been the law of the land since 1992. And yet we still have a City Hall that until recently didn't even have any ADA signage.
"I hope that it's not necessary," she says, but "anyone who doubts that the Justice Department has the teeth to enforce ADA needs to
see what was done in Tucson, Ariz., or at Madison Square Gardens in New York, at the Liberty Bowl, at Swarthmore [College]."
But before taking that step, Wolf says she'll try working within the boundaries set by her fellow board members.
"My plans are to tour all of the schools to see exactly what has been done and not done, what the board has been told would be done and whether there has been any follow through on the part of the administration," says Wolf.