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City council passes harassment amendment, new resolution created by students


The Bloomington City Council meets June 5 in City Hall. The council voted June 12 to pass five resolutions and one amendment to the Bloomington Municipal Code. Alex Deryn

The Bloomington City Council unanimously passed Wednesday night five resolutions and one amendment.

The council passed a three Housing Authority related resolutions, as well as a transfer of funds to Jack Hopkins Social Service Program and a climate change resolution written by Bloomington high school students.

Two major presentations were conducted by students from Bloomington High School South and 6th and 7th grade classes from The Project School, a chartered public elementary school in Bloomington.

“It’s not easy, but we’re not looking for the easy thing to do,” said Cindy Stark, a teacher that worked with the presenting middle schoolers. “We’re looking for the right thing to do.”

Project School students presented their plan to make their playground more accessible to students with disabilities.

“Our class worked very hard on this dream to tackle the problem,” said Maddie Waters, a student at The Project School. “We developed the catchphrase ‘Unaccessible is unacceptable.’”

The students started the project in the fall of 2018 after they found out one of their classmates in a wheelchair had to bring a book to recess every day since she could not get to the playground.

They proposed adding instruments, sensory activities and making the playground wheelchair accessible.

They have promoted their plan by holding an accessibility fair at their school and partnering with the IU Media School to make a short documentary. The playground the students useat Waldron Hill Buskirk Park downtown is public so they have worked with the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department as well.

"It is our hope that serious consideration will be given to making a new playground accessible so all residents and visitors can experience the playground," Waters said.

A resolution titled Youth for Environmental Sustainability written by Bloomington High School South students was sponsored by council member Dave Rollo. It outlined the effects of climate change both locally and worldwide and what steps Bloomington should take to combat them.

The sections included suggestions such as public refillable water bottle stations to reduce single use plastic use, bike lanes that lead to schools and a reduction in natural gas use.

“I don’t want to wait until 2050 to fight climate problems that will be too big to stop,” said Emma Hickman, a senior at Bloomington High School South. “This resolution is one way that we can make a difference.”  

The council also voted on an ordinance that addresses the Bloomington Municipal Code. The code that prohibits harassment and discrimination was amended to include non-binary pronouns within the written legislation.

During public comment, Kenneth Shafer, a local contractor, said the wording that refers to the workers within the harassment amendment was too vague, creating potential for loopholes.

“I feel the need to speak up for my profession,” Shafer said. “With this wording, it is unimplementable and unenforceable.”

Additionally, the Bloomington Arts Council discussed picking the artists for the public installation at the new Trades District, the Office of Innovation discussed their development of more online resources for Bloomington residents and the Bloomington Arts and Entertainment District outlined their expansion across the city.

The final presentation focused on the Transportation Demand Management plan for Bloomington. The presentation discussed the demographics of the Bloomington residents who use these systems and the process of adapting to evolving technology within public transport.

The Bloomington City Council will be taking a short recess and will have its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. July 31 in City Hall.

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