A school bus driver has punished a blind 8-year-old boy from Kansas City, Missouri, for misbehaving by taking away his walking cane and replacing it with a floppy pool toy on Monday.
The child’s parents, Rachel and Donald Nafzinger, say that their son, Dakota, was humiliated when the driver handed him the sodt toy on his way from Gracemor Elementary School Monday.
Dakota suffers from a rare medical condition known as bilateral anopthalmia and was born without eyes. Despite his condition, the 8-year-old leads a normal life and likes singing, swimming and fishing. However he does rely on a stick to get around. His mother told Fox4KC:
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.
However, Michelle Cronk, a North Kansas City School District Spokeswoman, said that Dakota’s walking stick was school property which was given to him when he entered the school and that it was taken away from him, after he hit someone with it while riding the bus. The school district added that the bus driver gave Dakota the pool toy as a substitute, because the boy tends to fidget unless he has something in his hands. (Scroll down for the video report.)
1. Dakota Nafzinger (left and right), 8, from Missouri, was born without eyes and has been relying on a cane to get around (image source: Facebook).
2. Earlier this week, a school bus driver punished Dakota for misbehaving by replacing his cane with a floppy pool toy (pictured).
3. The student was on his way home from Gracemor Elementary School in Kansas City Monday when he allegedly used his cane to hit someone.
4. Rachel Nafzinger, pictured, said she does not understand why anyone would take away the one thing her son needs to function.
The boy said that he was told by school officials that he would have to use the Styrofoam tube for the next two weeks, but he says it is of no use to him and makes it harder for him to feel his way when walking.
Rachel Nafzinger, Dakota’s mother, said that she does not understand why school officials decided to punish her special-needs son by taking away the one thing he needs most in his day-to-day life. She said:
He’s gone through so much in his life already… and I just don’t like someone else putting my son in that position.
Donald Nafzinger, the boy’s father, has suggested that Dakota may have lifted his cane in the air, as he often does, and the driver mistook it for an act of aggression.
On Wednesday, the North Kansas City School District issued a statement saying that an internal investigation has concluded that a “mistake” was made on Monday and the district has apologized to the Nafzinger family.
And here is the video report:
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