Amended laws should be subject to further scrutiny, especially among the handicapped population.
In general, people approach change with reservation. I am thinking about the start of this school year under the leadership of a brand new principal in our district. We had been guided by the same leader for over a decade. Until this year. There was a familiarity in our schedules, policies, and procedures. Until this year. We knew the expectations and went about our days with high job satisfaction. The time comes for our fearless leader to retire, and our world as we know it seems to tilt off its axis as uncertainty creeps into the cracks. We meet our new leader in the spring, and assurances are made that for the first year, there will be minimal changes to life as we know it in our school culture. Eight days in, and there are more changes than we can count. It’s exciting to try new things; however, there’s apprehension in the air, and many of us yearn for the “old days.”
My 84-year old mother-in-law spent some time with us this weekend. She shared a change to a long-standing Massachusetts law concerning handicap tags. Her story made me think that sometimes changes need to be reevaluated, especially when they seem to cause more harm than good.
Did you know that it is now illegal to drive a car with a handicap tag hanging from the rear view mirror? Yep. It is. A rule follower by nature, my MIL, petrified to be caught driving with her tag, placed it in her purse one day last week while driving to Target. She wasn’t able to immediately find a parking spot upon arrival, so she circled around until one became available. Out of habit, she parked and went into the store to carry out her business. Returning to her car, her heart skipped some beats, racing, as she noticed a big fat ticket on her windshield. She had forgotten to hang the tag on the mirror when she parked her car!
Clearly, she has a handicapped tag, and is permitted to park her car in marked spots. However, the patrolling officer had no way of knowing this since her tag was not present. Long minutes passed while she called the police department and was instructed to visit the station to clear up the confusion.
The kicker in all of this is that in order to rectify the situation, she had to bring her tag inside the station; thus, not allowing her to use the handicapped spot she so desperately needed to be able to make the journey up the flights of stairs into the building.
Is this change of handicap tag use really helping the handicapped population, or is it hindering them? I mean, think about all of the extra steps my mother-in-law endured simply because she abided one law and forgot about the other one in the process. At 84, she shouldn’t have to think so hard about something that’s supposed to help her obtain a high quality of life.
On this Constitution Day, I can’t help but think that some laws, especially amended ones, are unconstitutional when they prove to be a disservice to the very people they intend to protect.