Story Archive

Blind Rage

Dakota Nafzinger of Kansas City, Mo., was born without eyes. While the 8-year-old was on the school bus heading to school, the bus driver says Dakota hit another student with his white cane. Dakota’s father said his son “lifts his cane sometimes” and apparently the bus driver thought he was purposefully trying to hurt someone. Accidental or not, Gracemor Elementary School officials punished him — by taking away his cane for two weeks and replacing it with a foam swimming pool “noodle.” School officials wouldn’t talk to the media, but district spokeswoman Michelle Cronk did, saying they justified the action because the cane was school property, provided to Dakota at enrollment. Why a pool noodle? Dakota “fidgets and needed something to hold,” Cronk said. “It’s a lot harder with this,” Dakota said, indicating the swimming pool floatation device. “Can’t feel things.” After the story hit the news and caused widespread outrage, the school district backed down, saying it “reviewed the situation” and decided “a mistake was made.” They drove to the boy’s house to return the cane, apologized, and announced they are “working to rectify the situation.” (RC/WDAF Kansas City) ...That better be code for “processing the paperwork to fire the school officials.”
Original Publication Date: 11 January 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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