[nobe-l] need advice

via nobe-l nobe-l at nfbnet.org
Sat May 24 02:59:24 UTC 2014

I am not one to put messages on the  list very often and when I do, it is 
typically responding to someone else’s  message.   
I am looking for some advice from  others though…to get an idea of what 
others might do in my situation.  I apologize for the length.      
Just some quick background  information first.  I am legally  blind.   I am 
finishing my  12th year of teaching in an inner city public school system 
as a  special education teacher.  I have  taught in the same school district 
for my entire career.  They hired me knowing that I was legally  blind and 
might need a couple reasonable accommodations.  For 10 years or so, the 
district’s  administration was very helpful and very willing to provide any 
reasonable  accommodations to me I requested.   I certainly wasn’t pushy and only 
asked for things that were  essential.  They were always more  than willing 
to comply with my requests and never questioned anything.   Even during 
those 10 years, I had  several different principals, 2 different Special 
Education directors, and a  couple different Superintendents that I worked under.  
 For the most part, with the  exception of one principal that caused 
problems for everyone, I had no issues  with any administration and any requests I 
made.  The one issue I did have with the  principal, the Superintendent at 
the time quickly corrected the issue.    
In the last couple years, we have  acquired a new Superintendent, a new 
Special Education director, and new  principals.   The response I  have 
received from the current administration has been very different.   
At the beginning of December of last  year, I made a request for a 
reasonable accommodation to my principals.   They ignored my request.  I again asked 
a couple more times,  getting more specific and more direct each time…
.while still being professional  and respectful.  I was still  ignored.  Then at 
the beginning of  January, I contacted the Superintendent in an attempt to 
resolve the issue,  which had worked the one other time I had had issues with 
a  principal.  The Superintendent also ignored my  attempt to contact him 
and never responded.  After discussing it with our union’s  attorney (who 
also happens to practice disability law), it was decided that I  would file an 
internal ADA complaint within the district.   I filed the complaint and 
chose to  have our union’s attorney act as my representation.   The district 
contacted their  attorney who then contacted my attorney.   After some 
discussion and despite  my anger, I agreed to mediate the issue without the district 
having to go  through the investigation process first.   Although I was 
angry because I felt  that the district’s actions were totally out of line and 
unnecessary, I was not  going into this with an attitude of “I’m out to get 
them”.   I just wanted to continue to be  treated in the same manner I had 
been for 10 years and be provided reasonable  accommodations when I 
requested them, nothing more.   We held a meeting where it was  myself, my attorney, 
the district’s attorney, and administration.   We came to a written and 
signed  agreement between the district and myself as to the reasonable 
accommodations  that I needed and the district was willing to provide.   I thought 
with the signed  agreement and my dismissal of the complaint, that we’d all 
be able to move on  and I’d get what I needed.  The  agreement was supposed 
to be distributed to all administrators that I work with  or under so that 
they were aware of the agreement and its contents.   About 2 weeks later, I 
was  speaking to one of the administrators and I mentioned the agreement….and 
they  seemed to be unaware of the agreement or its contents.  This concerned 
me.  I asked a couple other administrators  and received the same response. 
 So  I called my attorney and told her my concerns.  I said “How can I 
expect these people to  follow an agreement that they don’t even seem to be 
aware of?  I mean, that doesn’t seem very fair to  them.”   She then contacted 
the  district’s attorney and we ended up on a three-way conference call.   I 
explained my concerns.  She did have documentation that all the  
administration had been informed of it but stated that she would make contact  again 
with the Superintendent’s office and tell them that they needed to check  
again with their administrators to ensure they were well aware of the agreement 
 and expectations.  Again, I wasn’t  out to “get them”…I was simply just 
trying to prevent another issue.   This was like 2 months ago.   
So, now comes today.  I was at a district level professional  development 
meeting in which I was to be provided a reasonable accommodation  that would 
allow me gain the information I needed and fully participate in the  
professional development.  Mind you,  this professional development is information 
and training on our new state level  teacher evaluation system….which in 
turn, directly correlates to my evaluation  and ultimately, my job.   So,  yes, 
it is extremely important stuff.  The accommodation I was to be provided 
today was on the signed agreement  we made months ago.  The two  
administrators who ran the professional development were both people who were  provided 
the information….one of which was ironically, the Special Education  
director.   Despite the  agreement, I was not provided the accommodation.   I had to 
go through the training  without it.   Needless to say,  I am angry and 
frustrated.   I  had 10 great years with no issues.   I’ve tried very hard to 
work with the current administration and have  tried to be understanding and 
forgiving.   I’ve given them chances to make  things right and do the right 
thing.   They just don’t seem to care!!!    
So, my question is……..what avenue  would you do next?  Would you try  and 
mediate yet again, even though they are obviously refusing to follow the  
agreement that is already made?   Would you file a complaint outside the 
district?   What direction would you take from  here?   What suggestions do you  
Any thoughts are  appreciated! 
Thanks in  advance, 

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