[nobe-l] need more advice

Joanne Zucker via nobe-l nobe-l at nfbnet.org
Mon May 26 02:51:43 UTC 2014

Can you wait until after you have a new contract to continue with this issue?

I do totally understand the issues of not getting fair and reasonable accommodations. I have been their myself.  I just never had to go as far as getting a lawyer, but was close a couple of times.


On Sunday, May 25, 2014 9:58 PM, via nobe-l <nobe-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:

Hi Kathy and All,
There is another issue that is complicating my decision as  well that I 
didn't share with you in my original message.  Technically, it  shouldn't 
matter.  BUT, I feel like it does.  
You see, I am also a union president.  We are negotiating  this year and 
are slated to begin negotiations in June and will probably go into  July as 
well.  Although I am leaning towards taking it outside the  district, my 
concern is that if I file something outside the district, the  district may 
retaliate and use negotiations as the means to do it.   Negotiations are not 
going to be easy this time around and so I'm concerned my  taking action could 
make it worse.  And I'm not sure we could actually  prove that what they were 
doing was retaliating.  This is where some of my  hesitation is coming from 
as well.  Otherwise, I think I'd probably  move forward with it.  
Thoughts on this??

In a message dated 5/24/2014 4:15:13 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
nobe-l at nfbnet.org writes:

To me, it is not even about what the accommodation  was or how essential it 
was. The point is that they agreed to it, and that  means they should have 
abided by that agreement. Even if the speaker was  presenting a topic that 
was less intricate, if they said they would have  the info for you, they 
should have had it. I think it is time to consult  outside sources as if 
do nothing, you are silently condoning their  behavior and letting them set 
precedent for future meetings. If you stay  with the same path you followed 
before, you are looking at a probable  extension of your frustration time 
with little hope that things will turn  out differently. That is not good 
your confidence and performance,  especially because this evaluation beast 
a tricky, tricky thing that  can easily overwhelm. I have taught in the 
school for twenty-two  years, and while my administration has changed, I 
luckily have felt no  change of support along the way. I anticipate 
finishing my career  in this school, and I hope that this consistency will 
remain for the ten  or so years I have left. I'm sorry that has not been 
experience,  Nicole. Let us know what you end up doing.

Kathy Nimmer
"Why  should your heart not dance?" C.S. Lewis
-----Original Message-----  
From: via nobe-l
Sent: Saturday, May 24, 2014 3:04 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)
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, 
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
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  
might need a  couple reasonable accommodations.  For 10 years  or so,  the
district’s  administration was very helpful and very  willing to  provide 
reasonable  accommodations to me I  requested.    I certainly wasn’t pushy
asked for  things that were   essential.  They were always more  than  
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
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  
and never responded.  After discussing it with our  union’s   attorney (who
also happens to practice disability law),  it was decided that  I  would
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
having to go   through the  investigation process first.   Although I was
angry  because  I felt  that the district’s actions were totally out of  

unnecessary, I was not  going into this with an  attitude of  “I’m out to
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 
be  able to  move on  and I’d get what I needed.  The  agreement  was
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, 
was  speaking  to one of  the administrators and I mentioned  the
they  seemed  to be unaware of the  agreement or its contents.  This
me.  I asked a  couple other administrators  and  received the same  
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 
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
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
allow me gain the information I   needed and fully participate in the
professional development.   Mind  you,  this professional development is
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
forgiving.   I’ve given them chances to  make  things  right and do the 
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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