The Braille Monitor February, 2001 Edition
From the Editor: Many of us have been aware for more than a year that the South Carolina affiliate has been fighting a discrimination case for a blind teacher with more credentials and teaching experience than you can shake a stick at. Not too surprisingly the case was successfully settled last March, much to the satisfaction of everyone who believes in the right of blind people to teach in the public schools.
The following article first appeared in the August 24, 2000, issue of the National Disability Law Reporter. It was then reprinted in the November, 2000, issue of the Palmetto Blind, the publication of the National Federation of the Blind of South Carolina. Here it is:
Blind Teacher Signs Contract Ending Suit Against School District
A blind woman who applied for more than a dozen positions with a South Carolina school district before suing for disability discrimination signed a teaching contract earlier this month as part of the suit's settlement.
Carol Randolph was already a certified, experienced teacher when she applied for approximately seventeen different teaching and administrative positions with the Greenville County School District, said one of her attorneys, Christopher Danielson of Myrtle Beach. Denied each time, she filed a disability discrimination lawsuit under Title II of the ADA in July of last year.
The school district initially maintained that Randolph was not qualified for the position that she sought because she presented a safety threat and would be unable to discipline students effectively. But a preliminary order in the case, pursued on the plaintiff's behalf primarily by Robert P. Wood of Columbia, South Carolina's Rogers Townsend and Thomas, PC, determined that there is "overwhelming evidence" that blind people can function effectively as teachers. Wood strengthened that conclusion by deposing two teachers with stellar qualifications and teaching records.
The case was resolved earlier this year when the school district agreed to pay Randolph $130,000 and offer her the teaching contract that she signed earlier this month. In addition, the district agreed to retain the services of the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind, the South Carolina Commission for the Blind, or a similar organization for the purpose of providing "a program of sensitivity instruction" to the school district's principals and other personnel involved in hiring decisions.
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