I guess when someone tries to scam the system, it angers me. I’m still angry over what happened to Ace. Everything seemed to go downhill for him after the paperwork was completed, so he could wear comfortable shoes at the high school. Ace has cerebral palsy and must wear lightweight shoes. What difference does it make what he wears on his feet? He has several different pairs of comfortable shoes in conservative colors that blend in with the dress shirts and pants he wears. He turned in a medical note that the building principal asked about, but she wanted more from him.
This isn’t the first time someone had to wear comfortable shoes and was harassed. Sandy Front, one of Ace’s favorite teachers, wore special shoes to work. She’s a diabetic and uses a kidney dialysis machine. She needed to wear something other than dress shoes. Her principal, the bitch-of-all-time, told her that her shoes were ugly and she wasn’t allowed to wear them, despite having medical documentation. Poor, Sandy had to go through her union to get the power she needed to wear them. Now, I believe if she’d been a new teacher like Ace, they would’ve found a way to get rid of her rather than look at her ugly shoes!
Now, when someone from Human Resources shows up and hands paperwork for Ace to complete involving the release of medical records, I knew something was wrong. I did contact the union, as previously stated, and the representative said it had only happened to one member, who completed it. After Ace completed this request and stated the medical reason for the shoes, it didn’t take long for a letter of reprimand from the building principal to be initiated. The letter requested for a specific task to be completed that was impossible for him to do. I know they waited for the paperwork and when they saw the words, “cerebral palsy,” they freaked!
Now, of course, there were more than 200 new teachers who walked out around the same time as Ace. So, either he was treated like the others, a letter of reprimand used as a ploy to get someone to quit and the school system could save money by hiring permanent substitutes or it could’ve had more to do with not wanting to deal with someone having a physical disability.
I had heard about the Office of Civil Rights coming down on the school system for several violations, no matter how hard the powers-that-be kept it from the public. But, working in the school system, one hears bits and pieces. I know for a fact that the school system doesn’t want to deal with anymore disability issues. It was very simple to get rid of Ace. All one has to do is go on the state’s department of education’s website and see how easy it is to suspend a teacher’s license.
It’s hard, costly, and time-consuming for someone to obtain a teacher’s license and then keep it. But, ironically, it’s so simple to erase it from existence. It shouldn’t be that simple to ruin someone’s career!
The school system is dog-eat-dog world and that’s why I’m posting this blog of memoirs. I’ve taught in this environment for nearly forty years. Now, that’s a long time and I have plenty to say. When it comes to Ace, I’ll confront the school board and not the principal. I’m just biting my time. After retirement, I plan to attend one of those meetings and voice my concerns. School board meetings are all public and that means the press may be there. Now, the only reason I might not do this, is if I am given a job to work for the school system in a different capacity outside the classroom or Ace obtains another job connected with the school system. If neither of these scenarios exists, then I will! It’s not like I don’t know how, because I do!