[nobe-l] FW: National Federation of the Blind Files Complaint Against Baltimore City Public Schools

David Andrews dandrews at visi.com
Thu Jan 5 08:28:00 UTC 2012

>Mark Riccobono, Executive Director
>National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute
>National Federation of the Blind
>(410) 659-9314, extension 2368
>(410) 935-4019 (Cell)
>mriccobono at nfb.org
>National Federation of the Blind Files Complaint
>Against Baltimore City Public Schools
>Says Plan to Buy Nook E-readers Discriminates Against Blind Students
>Baltimore, Maryland (January 4, 2012): The National Federation of 
>the Blind (NFB), the nation's leading advocate for access to 
>technology by the blind, announced today that it has filed a 
>complaint with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights 
>Division, requesting an investigation of the Baltimore City Public 
>Schools' proposed acquisition of NOOK devices.  The NFB filed the 
>complaint because the Baltimore City Public Schools recently 
>announced a partnership with the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg 
>Foundation to overhaul the school libraries in six middle schools in 
>the district.  As part of the partnership's plan, the selected 
>school libraries will acquire an unspecified number of NOOK e-reader 
>devices.  These devices are inaccessible to blind and other 
>print-disabled students.  The NFB raised its concern with leaders in 
>the Baltimore City Public Schools but has been told that the 
>district is moving forward with its plans to implement these devices 
>while it seeks "alternative emerging technology"-- in other words, a 
>needlessly segregated technology for students with print 
>disabilities. Because the NOOK is inaccessible to blind students, 
>the Baltimore schools' use of the devices violates Title II of the 
>Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
>Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, 
>said: "The National Federation of the Blind will not tolerate blind 
>students receiving an unequal education.  If e-reading devices are 
>available in school libraries, they must be accessible to all 
>students, not just the sighted.  Appropriately, the date of this 
>comAplaint falls on the birthday of Louis Braille, who first brought 
>literacy to the blind and fought for the right of blind students to 
>read independently.  He would not stand for this glaring inequity 
>and neither will we.  That is why we have asked the United States 
>Department of Justice to act swiftly and decisively to ensure that 
>blind students receive the same education as their sighted peers."
>The National Federation of the Blind is represented in this matter 
>by Daniel F. Goldstein and Daniel A. Ross of the Baltimore firm 
>Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP.
>About the National Federation of the Blind
>With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind 
>is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind 
>people in the United States.  The NFB improves blind people's lives 
>through advocacy, education, research, technology, and programs 
>encouraging independence and self-confidence.  It is the leading 
>force in the blindness field today and the voice of the nation's 
>blind.  In January 2004 the NFB opened the National Federation of 
>the Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center 
>in the United States for the blind led by the blind.

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