Opinion | Elevator policies make being an injured student difficult

Mary Lister, Staff Writer

ETHS prides itself on being inclusive, words of acceptance plastered on the walls as you walk in. The school, despite its faults, often holds this statement true, but sometimes, the school can slip up on this statement. 

On Aug. 22, I sprained my ankle while traveling in between classes. After spending around 40 minutes in the nurses’ office, icing my ankle, it was determined that I could not go back to class. The nurses were busy and didn’t have much time for individual patients, which left me a little lost on what to do for my ankle. After going to urgent care and getting an x-ray, I was given a doctor’s note saying that I was excused from gym class and that I was allowed a crutch in class and to use the elevator to get from floor to floor. A day later, my parents then had to email my doctor’s note to the school, and only then was I able to go to the nurses and get the key, but that wasn’t even the end of the process. 

I had to sign a second sheet that assured the office that my parents were aware of me using the elevator, and that I was also aware that if the key was lost or returned late, there would be a $50 fee. A replacement ID card is $5, a replacement gym uniform is $20. This key is a full $30 more expensive than a full outfit that is required for an entire subject, not to mention the underarm crutches that cost around $30-$40. It often takes less than $10 to copy a key, but the school charges five times that price in case someone loses it. $50 is a lot of money, especially if someone is dealing with a long-term medical condition.

There are also more restrictive limits on the elevator key. Only the owner of the key is allowed to use the elevator; none of their friends who don’t have a key are allowed to ride with them, which is understandable. However, there are some people who will slip onto the elevator that don’t even know the person who needs the elevator, and the key owner doesn’t really have a way to kick them off. ETHS could make the rule and its punishment more clear to everyone as well as having safety be aware of the rule/encourage them to keep an eye on it so students aren’t forced to do it themself. This unfairly puts pressure on them to fix the problem alone. 

 The key also has a time limit, and in my case, it was not long enough. An average sprained ankle takes around four weeks to fully heal, and my key was due September 7, which is only two weeks after I was injured. At that point, I was still using a crutch and a brace, which means I couldn’t have even attempted the stairs, and I was forced to keep the key over its time limit, just so I could get to class. 

There is only one way to extend your time. You need to go back to the doctor’s office and get a new note extending the time, which is time-consuming and could cost more money for a person that might already have an influx of medical bills. Ultimately, this time limit goes directly against the doctor’s note, which doesn’t have a set time limit, so what is the point of the doctor’s note if the school doesn’t even follow it?

ETHS says that it offers equity for every student. But, if I can’t even have the bare minimum of a singular key in order to get to class, then how can I be sure that if my injury had been a longer lasting injury I would get the help I need? A student’s basic needs should be respected, and something that is physically necessary for someone to go to school should be easily accessible and usable.