Oct 1, 2008

DCPS Fires Another Blind Teacher !

"The measure of a man is the way he bears up under misfortune."- Plutarch

I found an article on the National Federation of the Blind website about the importance of hiring and retaining blind or visually impaired workers. It got me to thinking about Mr. Fred Kamara, another blind teacher who was fired by DCPS unbeknownst to him. I learned of Mr. Kamara's testimony when I attended the prayer service/call to action for justice in the workplace last Friday at Covenant Baptist Church. Mr. Kamara returned to work in August like all DC teachers. He worked for several weeks (without pay) before learning of his termination . It appears that Mr. Kamara's principal also had not been informed that he had been terminated by DCPS as his name still appeared on the school roll.

For blind and visually impaired teachers, accommodations are not regularly provided to them in the workplace nor on the required praxis test. Of course this is a violation of the law and something needs to be done about it sooner than later. Teachers who are blind must hire their own 'private readers' to read the entire praxis test to them. They complain about the difficulties of having someone read a standardized test in its entirety. Imagine if you will attempting to take any test under these conditions. I shudder to think . I marvel at Fred Kamara and Denise Hamilton's tenacity in dealing with all of the challenges that our school system and others regularly place in their paths.

The worst part of this story is that Mr. Kamara should never have been fired. He passed his praxis exam even without accommodations. He never received a termination letter from the DC HR office in braille as required. Fred Kamara still remains unemployed although he'd rather be teaching for DC Public Schools. As the National Federation of the Blind states:

"Hiring and retaining workers who are blind or visually impaired is good business, and it is easier to do than you may think thanks to the many resources and technologies now available. Retention is especially important.... Blind and visually impaired workers have proven their value in a wide range of occupations. Technology further enables them to do more jobs than ever thought possible. Although some accommodation may be needed, it is often low in cost and easy to implement. The additional investment required is relatively small, and the return—in gaining or retaining loyal, high-quality employees who help to diversify your workforce—makes the return on investment a good one."

Really??? Perhaps someone should let DCPS in on this valuable tip. After all the National Federation of the Blind offers an array of services to employers interested in hiring and retaining workers who are blind or have visual impairments. Posted by Candi.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rhee just fired Dr. Zion after three months and gave no explanation or review for doing so. Dr. Zion was the fifth principle in the school building !Did Dr.Zion have the budget to meet operational needs of the business she was running ? This Rhee is headed for a class action law suit which will cost the system millions.