[nobe-l] need more advice

via nobe-l nobe-l at nfbnet.org
Tue May 27 02:34:24 UTC 2014

Thanks for sharing your experience!  I see that you ended up dropping  your 
complaint.  How far in the complaint process did you have to go before  the 
district took notice?  Were you concerned that they would go back to  their 
old ways once you dropped the complaint?  This would be somewhat of a  
concern for me in my situation, mainly because I know the games this  
administration plays.  They often do this when we file grievances in the  district.  
In a message dated 5/26/2014 8:13:18 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
nobe-l at nfbnet.org writes:

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  
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 
> abided  by that agreement. Even if the speaker was  presenting a topic  
> 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  
> 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 
> 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 
> 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  
> 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,  
> district’s  administration was very helpful and  very  willing to  provide
> any
> reasonable   accommodations to me I  requested.    I certainly wasn’t  
> 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  
> 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  
> 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. 
> again asked
> a  couple  more times,  getting  more specific and more direct each   time
> .while still being  professional  and  respectful.  I was  still   
> 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 
>  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  
> 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  
> 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 
> 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  
> my
> attorney,
> the district’s  attorney, and  administration.   We  came to a written  
> 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 
>  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  
> 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 
>  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 
> today was on the signed  agreement   we made months  ago.  The two
> administrators who  ran  the professional development were  both people 
>  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 
>  agreement that is  already made?   Would  you file a  complaint outside 
> the
> district?   What direction  would  you take from   here?   What  
> do
> you
> have?
> Any thoughts   are  appreciated!
> Thanks in    advance,
>  Nicole
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