[nobe-l] need advice

Sarah Clark via nobe-l nobe-l at nfbnet.org
Sat May 24 19:43:25 UTC 2014

My husband once worked with someone who had an interesting approach to the 
issue of not receiving materials in an accessible form at meetings. This man 
was a high level programmer with IBM. When a meeting would start and 
materials were handed out and were not provided to him in a form that he 
could read, he would simply stand up and say "its clear I am not needed 
here" and excuse himself and walk out. Its something I would be very tempted 
to do.


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

> Ashley,
> 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.
> Nicole
> In a message dated 5/24/2014 11:02:03 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> bookwormahb at earthlink.net writes:
> Nicole,
> 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.
> Ashley
> -----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
> 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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