[nfbwatlk] FW: [List] FW: [Wcb-l] school reverses cane decision

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Thu Dec 18 21:36:48 UTC 2014

From: List [mailto:list-bounces at cfb.ca] On Behalf Of Mike Freeman
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:26 AM
To: list at cfb.ca
Subject: Re: [List] FW: [Wcb-l] school reverses cane decision




I think there is considerably more involved with this case than we will ever
know about. Privacy concerns will keep publicity to a minimum as it should.


I think your concerns about the boy's safety are misplaced. For one thing,
we don't know anything of the architecture of the school. For another thing,
if the boy were using his cane as a weapon rather than as a mobility tool
and this were anything like a common occurrence (which, reading between the
lines, I'd bet it was), he wasn't getting much protection out of its proper
use anyway so taking the cane away from him was as much a protection for his
fellow students as it was a punishment to him. But we will probably never
know. In any event, when and to what extent the boy was allowed/encouraged
to use the cane is a matter for his Individualize Education Program and/or
Section 504 Plan and, therefore, should have been a matter of negotiations
between the boy's parents and school officials and was none of our business
unless we (either of ACB or, perhaps of more relevance, NFB) were asked to
intervene by the parents.


What bothers me in all this is our own reaction and that of other blind
adults. In my view, it's pure poppycock! We seem to wish to confer on the
long whitecane a hallowed status - a status which is inflexible and
inviolable. This is most emphatically *not* the case. The various white cane
statutes and human rights laws confer the right upon a blind or visually
impaired person to use a long white cane on streets, roads, highways,
sidewalks and other pedestrian rights-of-way and in places of public
accommodation. This right is also conferred upon those using service
animals. But there's a key provision in all of these laws: the person is
liable for damage caused by the service animal and cannot use it if it
presents a clear and present danger (not a perceived danger) to others. By
extension, this limitation also applies to the use of the long white cane.
I'd say hitting another kid on a schoolbus fits the definition of a clear
and present danger. There's a Youtube video I'd be glad to share about
mayhem on schoolbusses.


But even all this is beside the point: a school is not a place of public
accommodation per the definition of our laws, at least during school hours.
By extension, neither are schoolbusses. So, as with all other rights
guaranteed by our Constitution, there are circumstances under which they are


I sincerely hope that we of NFB and CFB don't lose our tradition of sharp
legal reasoning and adherence to logic. Cases such as the one here and some
other happenings make me worry that the whole society is turning into aKum
Ba Yah/Michael Rowed the boat Ashore society in which logic is subordinated
to feeling!


Ah well; I'd better cease and desist before I turn into the Grinch people
think I am.


Mike Freeman



From: List [mailto:list-bounces at cfb.ca] On Behalf Of Doris
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 4:12 PM
To: list at cfb.ca
Subject: Re: [List] FW: [Wcb-l] school reverses cane decision


And, no one has mentioned the boy's safety. Had he fallen and got injured
because his cane was taken from him, what then? Sounds like a definite law
suit to me.  Doris

On 17/12/2014 2:33 PM, Mike Freeman wrote:



From: Wcb-l [mailto:wcb-l-bounces at wcbinfo.org] On Behalf Of Becky
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 1:50 PM
To: Wcb-l at wcbinfo.org
Subject: [Wcb-l] school reverses cane decision


Update: School Reverses Decision and Issues Apology

Link to article:

By Lisa Suhay, Correspondent, The Christian Science Monitor/ December 17,

A Kansas City school punished a boy who was misusing his cane by taking it
away, and replacing with a swimming pool noodle. The American Council of the
Blind says such punishment is wrong. 

The decision to punish a blind child by replacing his mobility cane with a
swimming pool noodle is an "extra nasty step," says a director at the
American Council of the Blind.

Dakota Nafzinger, age eight, is a student at Gracemor Elementary School in
Kansas City. He was born without eyes, and relies on his white mobility cane
for personal freedom and the ability to move freely about his environment,
according to FOX 4 in Kansas City.

North Kansas City Schools spokeswoman Michelle Cronk told the media that
Dakota hit somebody with his cane while riding the bus and his punishment
was to have his cane taken away and replaced with a foam pool noodle.

Ms. Cronk also reportedly said that Dakota was given the pool noodle not as
a replacement for a mobility device, but rather because he needed something
to hold in order to avoid fidgeting. The school also reportedly said that it
owned the cane and gave it to the boy at the beginning of the school year.

In a statement released by Cronk Wednesday afternoon, the district reversed
its earlier decision.

The District has reviewed the situation. We regret that a mistake was made
in making sure the student was in possession of his cane when he boarded the
bus Monday evening.

The District has apologized to the family and is working to rectify the
situation. When we were made aware of the mistake, corrections were made. It
is always the District's policy when we become aware of situations like
this, we thoroughly and immediately investigate to ensure a safe learning
environment for all students.

In a phone call Cronk, says: "We've been taking a lot of heat from the local
community over this."

Eric Bridges, director of external relations and policy for the American
Council of the Blind (ACB) says in a phone interview from his office in
Arlington, Va., that the act of taking a blind child's cane from him as a
form of punishment was "absolutely wrong and something which impedes the
child's mobility."

"To do what this school did to this student is just beyond the pale," says
Mr. Bridges, who is blind himself. "If you want to punish a blind child then
punish him the same way you punish a sighted child - detention, suspension,
sitting on a bench in the hallway. What this school did was just an extra
nasty step of demeaning the child, humiliating him and robbing him of his

Bridges adds that even if the school supplied a guide to constantly be by
the boy's side, the addition of the pool noodle adds a dimension of
humiliation that is unacceptable.

"There's already enough stigma that comes with the white cane," Bridges
added. "A pool noodle? Because he fidgets? I honestly don't know which is
worse, taking his freedom of mobility or the total public humiliation."

Dakota's father, Donald Nafzinger told the media that his son lifts his cane
sometimes and the bus driver thought he was using it violently. "All around,
he's a good little guy, and he shouldn't be treated the way he's being
treated," Mr. Nafzinger said.




Becky Frankeberger

Butterfly Knitting

-           Ponchos

-           Afghans

-           Shawls

-           Custom Knitting


becky at butterflyknitting.com


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