[nobe-l] need advice

Gabe Vega via nobe-l nobe-l at nfbnet.org
Sat May 24 04:41:19 UTC 2014

1. I would take other options outside the district since it is obvious that they are really tending to the issues at hand.
2. call the NFB, they seem to like this kind of stuff.

Gabe Vega
Commtech LLC
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On May 23, 2014, at 7:59 PM, via nobe-l <nobe-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:

> Hi, 
> 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  
> have? 
> Any thoughts are  appreciated! 
> Thanks in  advance, 
> Nicole
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