School punishes blind child by replacing cane with pool noodle

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The parents of a Missouri eight-year-old boy are outraged after they say their blind son's cane was taken away and replaced with a pool noodle.

Dakota Nafzinger, who was born without eyes, attends Gracemor Elementary School in Kansas City.

Rachel Nafzinger told WDAF the school took away her son's cane as punishment for bad behavior on the bus and gave him a swimming pool noodle to use as a substitute.

North Kansas City School District Spokeswoman Michelle Cronk confirmed the school took away Dakota's cane, calling it school property that was given to him when he enrolled.

Cronk said the school took the cane after he reportedly struck someone on Monday while riding the bus. Cronk said the boy "fidgets" without his cane, so a pool noodle was given to him as a substitute.

Dakota's father, Donald Nafzinger, said his son lifts his cane sometimes and the bus driver thought he was using it violently.

"They said they were going to give me this for the next two weeks," Dakota said.

Dakota's family claims the cane was taken as a way of "humiliating" him for misbehaving.

"All around, he's a good little guy, and he shouldn't be treated the way he's being treated," Donald Nafzinger said.

13 comments

  • Joliet Bandit

    I don’t see this being a suitable punishment for anything. I say someone should get with the parents and find out about getting one of his own and let the school have theirs back. I have a very good friend that was born blind, he’s much older today, and uses one of those from time to time. I know how soft a pool noodle is, it’s not sufficient enough to detect objects around you.

  • Chris Haulmark

    This is illegal discrimination. It is no different than a deaf child having his hearing aid being taken away because it accidently makes too much noises. I believe that the parents have a case against the school for an ADA lawsuit because this child’s blindness was considered as a separating factor. In the end, this child should be punished just like the rest of the other children. If the school insists that they were in the right to punish this blind child then this school should also provide canes to other students, even if they are not blind, in order to avoid discrimination.

  • Almirah Norgrove

    Thats is aweful u don’t do that 2 a blind boy I don’t giver dawn if he misbehaving or not whoever did that needs 2 be fired

  • amanda

    Oh no sir!!! My child would be yanked out of that school asap!!! And yes I have a disabled child!!! I would humiliate that school til no ends!!! U do not take away the boys eyes u heartless pigs!!! Public schools are no place for disabled children ! My son goes to school 6 hours away where I know he is getting proper schooling from people just like him!! Ruidoso nm did the same to my child! I real is ed real quick I would never put him in this situation again switched him to new mexico school for the deaf and he has been just fine since!

  • Erica

    Canes for children can be had for under $20! I’ll buy him one if his parents lack the money so that no moronic, pig-ignorant school administrator can ever do this to him again.

  • Teresa

    National Foundation for the Blind, where are you? A cane is a mobility aid, so taking it away could pose some safety and mobility issues, not to mention some legal issues. But I feel a piece of the story is missing. So the boy lifted the cane, in what manner? I have seen my husband do that, for example flagging a cab, and I think it is in his hand and extension of his body when in use plus he was carrying something in his other hand. Plus there are folding canes, and they could have asked him to fold it. However, you should never take away a person’s mobility device or accommodation, it is like dumping a person out of a wheelchair in a way, and is not acceptable, and sorry but a noodle does not have the same functionality.

  • Glenn

    It is hard to tell really what side of the story is true, I do believe in provection of safety towards children, but to take a blind child’s caine away is a bit extream, not like it was a gun or any thing. thoe the biggest problem is that schoools have no proper training on dealing with this, because there is none, that does not make the teachers right to do that, but that does not mean to say that they were in the wrong either. was the boy misbehaving?. was he being abusive?. he could of been just stiff or bored, and moved the wrong way, and it could of been deemed threatening, that is where the school staff training fails, to reconisgize the diffrence between agression, or bordom or some thing else..

    Did the driver or bus attendent do some thing if it was on the bus did or if at the school, I agree with Crystal about this being poorly reported there is so much missing from it, and one verson is the school’s, the other verson is the boy’s, and then the boy’s parents and then the driver and attendent on the bus. there is so much that is missing, it is hard to tell which side is being truthful, Mabey the school did right, mabey they did’nt, or they handdled it inapporiately. there is so many theory’s and it is any one’s guess as to which is right.

    That is my two cent’s to the story.

  • ladyscot

    I don’t care how disabled your kid is. He assaults mine and I am whooping YOU. Period. If the kid has the cane he darn well needs to be educated and disciplined. Too dang often disability is used as an excuse for bad behaviour. Good for the school.

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