[nfb-talk] Jury finds IA Dept. for Blind's guide dog policydoesnot discriminate
John G. Heim
jheim at math.wisc.edu
Sat Feb 21 01:09:22 UTC 2009
Are you sure that Guide Dogs for the Blind requires you to have cane skills?
I don't think they ever asked me about that. I don't know how they'd have
verified it if they had asked me about it. And I don't think I ever used my
cane skills at GDB. I know I didn't even carry my cane with me for almost
the entire time I was there.
Are you saying that someone in Iowa has to learn to use a cane in order to
have access to Iowa's mobility training resources? If they force you to have
cane training, I'm not sure I would disapprove. People providing a service
like that have a right to decide the best way to provide it. I mean, you
couldn't come to the University of Wisconsin (where I work) and refuse to
become proficient in math.
The thing about it that makes me nervous is that I don't think we should
automatically approve of someone taking our choices away. It isn't clear to
me that cane training must absolutely be arequirement to get into mobility
training. Possibly, that choice would be best left up to the individual.
----- Original Message -----
From: "T. Joseph Carter" <carter.tjoseph at gmail.com>
To: "NFB Talk Mailing List" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, February 20, 2009 4:59 PM
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Jury finds IA Dept. for Blind's guide dog
> Prerequisite skills. To use a guide dog as effectively as possible, one
> must first develop strong travel skills. It is the same reason Guide Dogs
> for the Blind will not accept a candidate for a guide dog who is not
> proficient with a cane--only that in Iowa, they have a higher standard of
> "proficient". And they should, too.
> The problem comes in that many guide dog users flatly refuse to ever use a
> cane. Because they're so used to fighting for the right to use a dog,
> they automatically assume that this is more of the same anti-dog rhetoric.
> It serves a purpose, though: To make a guide dog user the best guide dog
> user they can be, by first making sure they are as effective a traveler in
> general as they can be.
> The statement made that clients have a choice of training centers and
> should exercise it is also significant, but I think it is the wrong
> On Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 03:39:17PM -0600, John G. Heim wrote:
>> I'm uncertain as to what is good about this. In general, refusing entry
>> to a person with a guide dog is a bad thing. Did the NFB favor
>> prohibiting use of a guide dog in mobility training? Why?
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Chad Allen" <chad at chadallenmagic.com>
>> To: "'NFB Talk Mailing List'" <nfb-talk at nfbnet.org>
>> Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 5:14 PM
>> Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] Jury finds IA Dept. for Blind's guide dog
>> policydoes not discriminate
>>> Great news!
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>> Behalf Of Wilson,Joanne (by way of David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com>)
>>> Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 3:25 PM
>>> To: david.andrews at nfbnet.org
>>> Subject: [nfb-talk] Jury finds IA Dept. for Blind's guide dog policy
>>> not discriminate
>>> From: Brammer, Robert [AG] [mailto:rbrammer at ag.state.ia.us]
>>> Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 1:53 PM
>>> To: Brammer, Robert [AG]
>>> Subject: Atty. Gen. release: Jury finds IA Dept.
>>> for Blind's guide dog policy does not discriminate
>>> To News Editors. From Bob Brammer (Iowa
>>> Attorney General's Office - 515-281-6699.)
>>> Please find a release pasted below. This will be
>>> posted soon at
>>> . A jury entered a verdict Wednesday in this
>>> case in Polk County District Court.
>>> Best regards, Bram
>>> For immediate release - Thursday, February 19, 2009.
>>> Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699
>>> Jury finds Iowa Department for the Blind's
>>> Guide Dog Policy Does Not Discriminate
>>> Des Moines. A Polk County jury has
>>> rejected a Des Moines woman's claim that the
>>> State of Iowa Department for the Blind
>>> discriminated against her by refusing her request
>>> to use a guide dog while she attended the
>>> Department's orientation and adjustment training program.
>>> The Department for the Blind
>>> orientation and training program is a
>>> comprehensive program that utilizes a totally
>>> non-visual approach to teaching blindness
>>> skills. Students with partial vision are
>>> required to wear eyeshades to prevent reliance
>>> upon any visual cues during training. Department
>>> policies prohibit the use of any visual aids
>>> within the orientation and training program,
>>> including guide dogs. The Department has no
>>> objection to guide dogs in other situations.
>>> Stephanie Dohmen, who is legally
>>> blind, attended the program for several months
>>> beginning in September 2000 and sought to
>>> re-enter the program in June 2002 accompanied by her guide dog.
>>> Dohmen claimed in her lawsuit that
>>> the Department's policy violated her rights under
>>> the Iowa Civil Rights Act and under federal laws
>>> that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.
>>> After a six-day trial, the
>>> eight-person jury rejected Dohmen's claims in a verdict entered
>>> The Department for the Blind, which
>>> was represented in the trial by the Iowa Attorney
>>> General's Office, argued that a totally
>>> non-visual approach - and training without
>>> assistance of a guide-dog or other visual aids -
>>> is the most effective approach for
>>> visually-impaired persons who are learning skills
>>> and techniques for dealing with blindness.
>>> The Department places no limitations
>>> upon the use of guide dogs in other settings,
>>> including in the Department for the Blind
>>> building in downtown Des Moines. For example,
>>> Karen Keninger, the Director of the Department,
>>> uses a guide dog, and the dog accompanied
>>> Keninger during her testimony at the trial.
>>> The orientation program typically
>>> includes about six months of full-time training
>>> in various problem-solving skills, such as
>>> cane-travel on public streets, using Braille,
>>> using computers, and dealing with many other situations.
>>> The Department for the Blind's
>>> orientation and adjustment program was
>>> established in 1959 and is considered by many to
>>> be one of the most effective in the country.
>>> During the trial, the State
>>> Department for the Blind presented testimony from
>>> Joanne Wilson and Frederic K. Schroeder, each a
>>> former Commissioner of the U.S. Rehabilitation
>>> Services Administration, which oversees programs
>>> for the blind around the country.
>>> "Iowa's orientation program
>>> profoundly changes lives," said Wilson, who also
>>> is Executive Director of the National Federation
>>> of the Blind. "It works. It's a cutting-edge
>>> program and a model for other states." Wilson is
>>> a Webster City native and ISU graduate who went
>>> through the Iowa Department for the Blind's orientation program herself.
>>> Schroeder said: "To me the central
>>> point is that individuals have a choice in the
>>> type of training they take. While programs must
>>> and should make reasonable accommodations, they
>>> cannot be required to alter the fundamentals of the program."
>>> - 30 -
>>> nfb-talk mailing list
>>> nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
>>> nfb-talk mailing list
>>> nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
>> nfb-talk mailing list
>> nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
> nfb-talk mailing list
> nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
More information about the nFB-Talk