[Pibe-division] Fire drill guidance

Carlton Anne Cook Walker attorneywalker at gmail.com
Sat Mar 5 03:29:55 CST 2011

Thanks to everyone who responded.  Here's what happened (please forgive/skip
over the rants included).

I'll tell you, after 2 IEP meetings Thursday (11th grader, LP only) and
Friday (4th grader, functional travel vision for nice flat surfaces, but
poor depth perception, contrast sensitivity, etc.) where the O&M people
insisted on "sighted guide," rather than human guide, as a primary method of
evacuating blind students from the building, I am fried.

One of the meetings was terribly illuminating.  After going on for about 5-7
minutes about how the student does not really need her cane in school (she
uses her remaining vision "fime"), this same person became incensed at the
idea of the same student being primarily responsible for her own evacuation
in emergency drills (just like all of her peers are).

When I queried why, the answer was a vehement, "But all the other students
are not BLIND.  She is LEGALLY BLIND.  She NEEDS sighted guide to get out of
the building!"

The parent agrees with me, the fourth grader stood up for herself,
advocating for her need to have her cane all the time.  She also recounted
several fire drills when I had her: she grabs her cane, SHE leads the way,
and I follow silently.  No problems, it's not rocket science.

Well, apparently, it is rocket science.  The "solution" negotiated is the
human guide will be "available" during emergency drills.  Not a perfect
solution, but better than the O&M's insistence upon forcing the guide on the
student every time (despite the child's proven ability to perform the task
independently with her cane).  I guess we should never let reality come into
our professional decisions. :/

Again, thank you for all your support. When it seems that I'm wandering
alone in the wilderness, it really helps to know that I am not alone!

Take care,


Carlton Anne Cook Walker
Voice: 717-658-9894
Twitter: braillemom
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