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more thoughts on the job situation



The whole thing smacks of discrimination. The principal doesn't give a flying flip about his educational goals. They want a babysitter, someone who can cover their butt in the rare event he gets hurt. They want someone to tag along six inches behind everywhere he goes and grab him at the top of every step. He will never learn to be independent in that kind of environment. They totally ignored the fact that he is a braille reading student and hired someone who does not know braille. She was willing to learn, they said. Doesn't matter. She is less qualified. What is he supposed to do in the meantime while she's learning?



Yes, I'm angry. I'm hurt. I feel used and abused, patted on the head. The rejection letter they sent me was so vague, so undignifying! The child's mother made phone calls and went to the meeting with the board of education tonight where they were voting on the applicant. She gave them her little speech about how she felt that her child's needs were not considered and that the decision had been made on the basis of my disability. She is talking with people from the National Federation of the Blind, and I will also be calling them before the week is up.



The board voted down the other applicant. I have no idea what the principal will throw up next. She may try revising the job description so that I am no longer qualified. I need to get my act together and write the letter requesting an explanation of why I was not hired. I never filled out an application. They had my resume and said the application was a formality and I could fill it out if they offered me the job. My resume is still on file with the board of education. But never again will I sit by and not fill the application out. I want to know if they have the equal opportunity clause on it. If they do, then they've obviously violated it. If I file a complaint and they revise the job description, I'll have no grounds for taking legal action.



I wanted to write about this on one of the lists I moderate. It's a list for parents of visually impaired children. That's actually how I met the mother and how I found out about the job. But, wonder of wonders, the principal has found the list and subscribed. That's the perks of being the moderator. I get to see who is on the list whether they post or not. I wanted to post because the whole list knew I was applying for the job and was so supportive. Most of the parents would have put it all on the line to have me working with their kids, and that is an incredible feeling. It's an entirely different kind of support from what I get from my parents or my friends or even professors. It's very validating to have the parents trust me with their child and recognize that I am knowledgeable in this area whether or not I have teacher certification. But I am not able to post it because this woman is on the list.



The principal is being ugly to the mother, asked her condescendingly if she wasn't happy that they hired a "sighted guide" for her child. This mom has a whole lot of guts! But I know she's upset. Her child's entire support staff is leaving, and they won't hire an aide who knows braille or is familiar with blindness issues because they're worried about safety issues! It feels odd to be fighting this with her. Is it going to be counterproductive to have a complaint filed with the EEOC and have her fighting for the rights of her child at the same time? Will they look at us and ask what our motives really are? But the fact is the job and I were a perfect match.



Fortunately, I've kept all the email that was exchanged over the last month about the job. I can probably go back and find the dates that I contacted school personnel over the phone, and I probably also have enough emails that I've written to my mom and other individuals that I can compile a documentation of when and what I learned about the responsibilities. I guess that's where I go from here.



I'm overwhelmed with stuff to do. I still have three weeks' worth of homework to catch up on! That needs to be donelike five minutes ago. Ok, not really, but I can't sit on it. I need to graduate. But I am absolutely not going to let this go without a fight. I'm through doing that. I'm finished being walked on and putting up with discrimination because maybe the points were valid or because the work environment might be made unpleasant for me. I'm just finished. That's like putting up with abuse because the abuser is bigger than me. I'm just not doing it anymore!



And I'm angry that this woman is on my list, on a list where the parents and people who support them should be able to post safely. I can't unsub her because really she's done nothing to violate list guidelines. The list is open to professionals and other concerned people, and to close it would mean removing a couple of people whose input is greatly valued by the parents and who have the highest respect for the expertise of the parents. So both the mother and I are in a rut here in terms of support.




Anyway, I guess I'm done with this missive for now. I don't really feel like sleeping yet, but I should probably try or else read my homework. Wonder which of those would suit me better.

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Sarah Blake LaRose
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