A blind mother’s battle with the city to enroll her daughter in a Pre-K school that she could safely travel to is over.
A teacher saw the story, reported first here on NY1, and offered the West Brighton resident a spot in her program
NY1's Lisa Voyticki reports.
As four-year-old Nuala Bonner walks the halls of the Staten Island Broadway YMCA, she gets excited at the little things.
"Oh they have a Dory!" she said to her teacher, Meaghan Murphy.
Then she sits on the couch for kids she says, "And look at these pillows, comfy!"
NY1 was there as Nuala and her mother visited the classroom and staff at the school she'll be attending in two weeks.
It's a moment most parents get to experience, but for Holly Bonner, who is legally blind, it almost didn't happen.
“It is my disability that impeded her from getting to where she needed to go," said Bonner. "So now that she has that, as a mom, I'm so grateful, I'm really grateful.”
As NY1 first reported, the West Brighton mom was originally assigned a Pre-K school for her four-year-old that would take her more than an hour to travel to with her guide dog and other daughter in tow.
The Department of Education would only waitlist her for the school near their home.
After the story, Holly got a call from the Director of Early Childhood at the Staten Island Broadway YMCA.
“[It] just so happened last week one of our families were moving to New Jersey," said Allison Sicuranza, Director of Early Childhood for the Staten Island YMCA Broadway.
And she offered Holly’s daughter that spot. The school is a 15 minute walk from their home.
“We were able to find a safe sidewalk route that the Y actually made me aware of with large orange stations that I can use to navigate," said Bonner.
And Holly won't have to worry about reading any paperwork that goes home with Nuala because the Y will be making it available digitally.
“Having anything available that comes home digitally is going to be very beneficial to me because I can listen to it audibly or I can enlarge it on a screen reader and read it," said Bonner.
The visit to the school was a meeting that brought tears of joy to both Holly and the YMCA staff.
“I think we're going to have a great year together," said Meaghan Murphy, who will be one of two of Nuala's teachers at the Y.
Holly says while she’s thrilled with the end result, she’s also pleased that the city called to let her know, they'll now consider parents' disabilities when placing children in the Pre K program.
The Department of Education told NY1 in a statement:
"We are currently working with the Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities on options to make our applications more accessible for visually impaired individuals, and we’ll continue to work with all families to find seats that meet their needs."
Holly hopes this means she and her youngest daughter won’t have to go through this when she enrolls her for Pre-K next year.