VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A long-time baseball coach is fighting for equal access at Virginia Beach ballfields.
Coach St. Clair Jones uses a wheelchair and he’s asking city leaders for ADA compliant bathrooms.
“We know while Coach Jones has fought this fight, he is certainly not the only one with this issue,” said Virginia Beach attorney Kevin Biniazan.
Basic needs are an issue when Jones coaches the sport he loves.
“It does become frustrating,” Jones said.
A car accident years ago confined Jones to a wheelchair, but that didn’t stop him from coaching baseball at Kellam High School. While his school has wheelchair-accessible bathrooms by the fields, he said other high schools in the division his team plays against don't.
Jones said he suffers during away game days.
“Our games are at 4 p.m.,” Jones said. “I actually stop eating or drinking at 10 a.m. just so I don’t have to worry about the rest of the day.”
On Monday, attorneys Biniazan and Jeffrey Breit sent a letter to leaders with the City of Virginia Beach and Virginia Beach school division.
“The problem is going to get fixed,” Breit said.
The letter said the city has 21 days to agree to fix the bathroom access issues at Virginia Beach high schools or face a lawsuit.
“He has altered his entire lifestyle in order to do what he loves and frankly just his job,” Biniazan said.
Jones hopes pushing for his rights also helps other fans who want to watch a game.
“A parent also in a wheelchair should not have to want to attend a game or only go through three innings because there is no restroom there,” Jones said.
A spokesman for the City of Virginia Beach said the Virginia Beach School Board is separate from the city. A spokeswoman for Virginia Beach City Public Schools said division leaders will respond in the 21-day period that Coach Jones’ attorneys requested.