A school takes a blind child’s cane and replaced it with a pool noodle as punishment. Parents are outraged and want answers on how this can happen to an 8-year-old who was born without eyes, according to Fox News. Dakota Nafzinger has a condition known as Bilateral Anopthalmia.
The punishment occurred at the Gracemor Elementary School in Kansas City. School District Spokeswoman Michelle Cronk said that Dakota hit somebody with his cane on while riding the bus. She says they took away his cane and gave him a pool noodle because he needed something to hold.
Cronk also said Dakota fidgets without his cane. But, Dakota’s father, Donald Nafzinger, said his son lifts his cane sometimes and the bus driver thought he was using it violently. Dakota said he was punished for two weeks.
“They said they were going to give me this for the next two weeks.”
The school who took the blind child’s cane is being blamed for “humiliating” the boy, according to the Seattle Post. The family says he loves to sing, fish and swim — despite the extra work those activities require from someone who is blind. Donald Nafzinger said he doesn’t like the way he’s being treated.
“All around, he’s a good little guy, and he shouldn’t be treated the way he’s being treated.”
Dakota’s mother said he was written up for misbehaving on the bus, but she said she doesn’t understand why his punishment was to take away the thing he needs the most.
“Why would you do that? Why would you take the one thing that he’s supposed to use all the time? That’s his eyes … He’s gone through so much in his life already, 8 years, 8 years, and I just don’t like someone else putting my son in that position.”
After the story of the the school who took the blind child’s cane away aired on TV, a viewer immediately called and expressed an interest in buying the boy his very own cane. In the hours following, hundreds more expressed an interest in helping Dakota. The viewers are obviously taking his side.
The North Kansas City School District released a statement that read in part:
“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.”
While the school returned the blind child’s cane, his mother said school officials actually made a surprise visit to their home Wednesday morning to apologize. She said Facebook and social media had helped spread the word, notes the Christian Science Monitor. She thanks everyone for their support.