School Wrongfully Dismissed Blind Teacher Over Sighted Aide, Judge
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 30, 2006
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--A federal judge has ruled that the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese violated the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act when it refused to renew a school contract with a blind teacher for failing to hire a sighted classroom aide.
The case involved religion and social studies teacher Jeffrey Jenkins, who for more than 10 years used his Supplemental Security Income to hire a part-time, sighted aide to help in his classroom at Daniel Murphy Catholic High School. Jenkins taught without an aide for several months after he lost his SSI benefits in 2004, until the principal warned him the school would not renew his contract for the following year if he did not find funding for an aide.
Jenkins did find a friend to pay for an aide, but school officials informed him that he had missed an April 15 deadline, even though the school was closed for Easter vacation at the time.
In the October 24 decision, U.S. District Judge Stephen G. Larson said that the school and the archdiocese violated Jenkins' rights under the ADA when they refused to renew his contract or negotiate with him after he missed the arbitrary deadline.
The judge set a January hearing date to determine what damages the school and archdiocese will have to pay.
"Judge: LA school, archdiocese violated rights of blind teacher" (Associated Press via Fresno Bee)