[Nfbmo] Fw: [Missouri Chat] Article in the Christian Science Monitir about the boy and his cane

Nancy Lynn freespirit.stl at att.net
Wed Dec 17 21:15:11 UTC 2014

from Nancy Lynn freespirit.stl at att.net
-----Original Message----- 
From: Christopher Gray via Chat
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 2:29 PM
To: Missouri Chat
Subject: [Missouri Chat] Article in the Christian Science Monitir about the 
boy and his cane

Here is a more in-depth story.  The Monitor contacted Eridc Bridges at ACB 
he did an excellent job representing the blind community.


Kansas City school punishes blind boy by replacing cane with pool noodle

A Kansas City school punished a boy who was misusing his cane by taking it 
and replacing with a swimming pool noodle. The American Council of the Blind
says such punishment is wrong.

Lisa Suhay , Correspondent author bio

December 17, 2014

School punishes blind child by taking away cane and replacing it with a pool
noodle - YouTube

The decision to punish a blind child by replacing his mobility cane with a
swimming pool noodle is an “extra nasty step,” says a director at the
American Council of the Blind.

Dakota Nafzinger, age eight, is a student at
Gracemor Elementary School in Kansas City. He was born without eyes,
and relies on his white mobility cane for personal freedom and the ability 
move freely about his environment, according to
FOX 4 in Kansas City.

North Kansas City Schools spokeswoman Michelle Cronk told the media that 
hit somebody with his cane while riding the bus and his punishment was to 
his cane taken away and replaced with a foam pool noodle.
Ms. Cronk also reportedly said that Dakota was given the pool noodle not as 
replacement for a mobility device, but rather because he needed something to
in order to avoid fidgeting. The school also reportedly said that it owned 
cane and gave it to the boy at the beginning of the school year.
12-20school_standard_218x145 r-school
900_standard_218x145 ay-12-16

In a statement released by Cronk Wednesday afternoon, the district reversed 
earlier decision.

The District has reviewed the situation. We regret that a mistake was made 
making sure the student was in possession of his cane when he boarded the
bus Monday evening. The District has apologized to the family and is working 
rectify the situation. When we were made aware of the mistake, corrections 
made. It is always the District’s policy when we become aware of situations 
this, we thoroughly and immediately investigate to ensure a safe learning
environment for all students.

In a phone call Cronk, says: “We’ve been taking a lot of heat from the local
community over this.”

Eric Bridges, director of external relations and policy for the American 
of the Blind (ACB) says in a phone interview from his office in Arlington, 
that the act of taking a blind child’s cane from him as a form of punishment 
absolutely wrong and something which impedes the child’s mobility.” “To do 
this school did to this student is just beyond the pale,” says Mr. Bridges, 
is blind himself. “If you want to punish a blind child then punish him the 
way you punish a sighted child – detention, suspension, sitting on a bench 
the hallway. What this school did was just an extra nasty step of demeaning 
child, humiliating him and robbing him of his mobility.” Bridges adds that 
if the school supplied a guide to constantly be by the boy’s side, the 
of the pool noodle adds a dimension of humiliation that is unacceptable. 
already enough stigma that comes with the white cane,” Bridges added. A pool
noodle? Because he fidgets? I honestly don’t know which is worse, taking his
freedom of mobility or the total public humiliation.”

Dakota’s father, Donald Nafzinger told the media that his son lifts his cane
sometimes and the bus driver thought he was using it violently.
“All around, he’s a good little guy, and he shouldn’t be treated the way he’s
being treated,” Mr. Nafzinger said.

Bridges adds, “It’s honestly very hard for me to get my mind around what it
would take for an educated adult to come up with that punishment,” Bridges 
in exasperation. “It’s almost as if another eight-year-old thought that one 

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