Monday, November 12, 2012
Amazon.com is undertaking a massive effort to deploy its Kindle e-readers and Kindle books to K-12 schools across the United States. In some cases Kindle devices have been donated directly to schools, including schools that serve children who are blind or have other disabilities. Amazon has also built a system called Whispercast that allows teachers and school administrators to distribute Kindle content to devices other than Kindles. The problem with all of these plans is that neither the Kindle devices nor the book files used in conjunction with them are accessible to students who are blind or who have other print disabilities. Since school districts have an obligation under federal law to purchase or deploy only accessible technology and content, Amazon must either make Kindle books accessible or cease and desist from its efforts to have them used in the classroom.
We are asking each of you, and/or your blind children, to write a letter to Amazon’s founder and chief executive officer, Mr. Jeff Bezos, explaining the harmful impact that the use of this inaccessible technology in the classroom will have on blind students. You may write your letter in print or Braille; if convenient, submit it in both formats. Also, if you can, submit a video of you or your child reading the letter that we can post on our Web site, Facebook page, and/or YouTube channel. You may send videos to [email protected]
We plan to deliver the hard copy letters directly to Jeff Bezos at an informational protest, so please send the letters to us at National Federation of the Blind, 200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD 21230, Attention Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations. To be included in our delivery to Mr. Bezos, we must receive your letter no later than December 1, 2012.
If you have any questions about this effort, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can call me at 410-659-9314, extension 2330, or e-mail me at [email protected] Thank you for your assistance in this critically important matter.
Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE BLIND