Chesterfield student advocates for students with disabilities

Chesterfield County

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A Chesterfield County student is using her class project to advocate for students with disabilities.

At Salem Church Middle School, a sixth-grade language arts teacher asked her students to pick a topic they were passionate about and work toward a specific goal.

“Once I got the proposals from the students I knew this was going to change the way I taught forever,” said teacher Carly Campton.

Carly Campton said she was impressed by what her students came up with.

One of them, 11-year-old Madeleine Randall, chose to document the struggles of what it is like to have a disability that requires the use of a wheelchair.

“She is documenting the challenges and struggles that she faces in the wheelchair,” Campton said. “So she can give others insight as to what she goes through and some potential solutions to these problems.”

The thing is, Madeleine can walk.

For the past two weeks, she has opted to spend the entire school day in a wheelchair as part of the project.

“Getting through classes is a lot more difficult,” Madeleine Randall said. “Science is more of a tight squeeze but math it’s a lot more of a tight squeeze.”

She said simple tasks, such as getting books from her locker or getting through crowded classrooms, all require help.

She also said the wheelchair ramp is actually her biggest challenge.

“That sounds crazy but I can only get a foot up the ramp,” Randall said. “It requires a lot of upper body strength to get up.”

She has been keeping a journal of her experience and hopes to be able to take her concerns to someone from Chesterfield County Public Schools.

She also wants to change the attitude of kids her age towards people in wheelchairs.

“It’s a lot harder than it looks,” Randall said.

Her teacher, Campton, said other student projects included collecting food and clothing for local homeless shelters and senior living homes.

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