[nobe-l] need more advice

Ashley Bramlett via nobe-l nobe-l at nfbnet.org
Tue May 27 00:12:49 UTC 2014

good advice. what subject and age group did you teach?

Also, was your complaint to eeoc successful? I know they are hard to prove.
What happens in such a complaint anyway?

I agree a good school system would then be scared when the feds are 


-----Original Message----- 
From: Frank Lopez via nobe-l
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2014 11:22 AM
To: NMPBRAT at aol.com ; National Organization of Blind Educators Mailing List
Cc: goldendolphin17 at hotmail.com
Subject: Re: [nobe-l] need more advice

Hello Nicole,

I am a totally blind retired teacher that taught for the past 20 years.  I
have had the good fortune to have some great administrators over these
years.  However, I have had my share of those that were very adversarial
and made it very difficult for me to do my job.  There were times that I
had to file grievances through my union against specific administrators.
Filing these sometimes helped but not always.  You would think after 25
years of ADA law administrators would be more willing to work with
individuals with limitations.  At one time, I had to file an EEOC complaint
against one of my employers.  It was something that I did not want to do.
I eventually dropped the complaint after my administration stood up and
took notice of the complaint.  They all of the sudden became very docile
and acted as though there was no reason to had filed this complaint.  The
last thing a school district wants is to be on the Feds radar.  Remember
you can always drop the complaint once you have gotten their attention.
This action makes them aware of the fact that you are willing to inform the
Feds and they then watch there P's and Q's!

You can file a EEOC complaint online, or over the phone.  When you talk to
the intake worker, make sure they know about all of your concerns including
that you are a union president.  They can advise you without having to file
a complaint if you later choose not to.  Remember, that you are blazing a
trail for current and future blind teachers that should not have to go
through all of this unnecessary stress and conflict. Best wishes for a
positive outcome.

Frank Lopez
Community Education

Custom Canines Service Dog Academy, Inc.
6610 Fieldwood Rd.
Madison, Wi  53718

On Sun, May 25, 2014 at 8:57 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??
> Nicole
> In a message dated 5/24/2014 4:15:13 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> nobe-l at nfbnet.org writes:
> Hello,
> 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
> you
> do nothing, you are silently condoning their  behavior and letting them 
> set
> a
> 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
> for
> your confidence and performance,  especially because this evaluation beast
> is
> a tricky, tricky thing that  can easily overwhelm. I have taught in the
> same
> school for twenty-two  years, and while my administration has changed, I
> luckily have felt no  change of support along the way. I anticipate
> probably
> 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
> your
> 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
> 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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