[nobe-l] need advice

Mike Freeman via nobe-l nobe-l at nfbnet.org
Sat May 24 19:25:14 UTC 2014

Frankly, I think most presentation materials are a waste of time anyway so I don't miss them! If someone can't present his/her material clearly in a lecture, then the lecture wasn't worth going to in the first place unless one got brownie points thereby.


-----Original Message-----
From: nobe-l [mailto:nobe-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of via nobe-l
Sent: Saturday, May 24, 2014 12:04 PM
To: bookwormahb at earthlink.net; nobe-l at nfbnet.org
Subject: Re: [nobe-l] need advice

They had two options.....
1) They could provide me the materials and presentation ahead  of time via email so that I could print them off and make them in accessible  format (large print) OR
2) They could provide me the materials and presentation in  large print format that day.
They did neither.  
Interestingly enough, I had colleagues that were sitting next  to me that were sharing things with me (since I could see it).....and we ended  up getting called out for talking, as if we are 5 years old.  At that  point, I 
wanted to really tell them what I thought....but I  refrained.   
Ashley, it makes a world of difference as to who the  administration is.  
My experiences have definitely shown me this.  
Good luck with future endeavors in education.  It is very  doable with the right support.  
In a message dated 5/24/2014 11:02:03 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, bookwormahb at earthlink.net writes:

sounds tough.
I'd file a complaint outside the  school. If there is a helpful nfb rep in your state, you might have them  come to the meetings.

Which accomodation did you need in the training  that was not provided?

I'm glad you made it over 10 years. I am  considering special ed either teaching blind kids or learning disabled  ones so am on this list.

Its interesting to see one administration  really makes a difference in the treatment we get.
I'd love to see the  day when everyone in schools respects staff reguardless of their  abilities.
-----Original Message-----
From: via  nobe-l
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 10:59 PM
To:  nobe-l at nfbnet.org
Subject: [nobe-l] need advice

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 
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 
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 
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 
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  
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 
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 
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 
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  
the  district’s attorney and we ended up on a three-way  conference call.   
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, 
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 
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 
Any thoughts are  appreciated!
Thanks in   advance,
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nobe-l at nfbnet.org
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