School punishes blind child by replacing cane with pool noodle

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The parents of a Missouri eight-year-old boy are outraged after they say their blind son’s cane was taken away and replaced with a pool noodle.

Dakota Nafzinger, who was born without eyes, attends Gracemor Elementary School in Kansas City. Rachel Nafzinger told WDAF the school took away her son’s cane as punishment for bad behavior on the bus and gave him a swimming pool noodle to use as a substitute.

North Kansas City School District Spokeswoman Michelle Cronk confirmed the school took away Dakota’s cane, calling it school property that was given to him when he enrolled.

Cronk said the school took the cane after he reportedly struck someone on Monday while riding the bus. Cronk said the boy "fidgets" without his cane, so a pool noodle was given to him as a substitute.

Dakota's father, Donald Nafzinger, said his son lifts his cane sometimes and the bus driver thought he was using it violently.

"They said they were going to give me this for the next two weeks," Dakota said.

Dakota's family claims the cane was taken as a way of "humiliating" him for misbehaving.

"All around, he's a good little guy, and he shouldn't be treated the way he's being treated," Donald Nafzinger said.

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  • Al

    The cane should not have been taken away from him if he needs it. If he did hit someone on purpose with it, then a different form of punishment should have been used.

  • T

    This is SO WRONG!!! How dare this school’s administration be so insensitive to this child’s needs. Do they not understand a cane is his eyes and the touch is just as important as the sound? A pool noodle! Wow!

  • Ravyn Crescent

    I think we need to get the poor boy a cane!! My mother is legally blind and has to use them, they are expensive, but he so desperatly needs one! If we all help out, we could purchase a blind cane for him, so he can see, and it will be HIS medical instrument, his property, and they cannot take it away as it is a medical instrument. Anyone have any ideas on how we can do this?

  • Brandi Nelson

    If the school furnished the boy with the cane, then it is in their right to take it away. Just because the kid is blind doesn’t mean he couldn’t actually hit another person with his cane. Plus why don’t the parents go a buy a cane for their son. Therefore the school can not take it away.

  • Melanie Heatherington

    seriously, let me know what size of a cane he uses, and where to send it!! I have a blind 8 year old daughter, a cane is NOT a privilege to be taken away, it’s their eyes!! If it’s a distraction, have him set it to the side, but it should NOT be taken away like this!! I bet you anything that can was provided by the extra money the school receives because of his disability!!

  • Lindsay

    It’s like this…STOP BEING LAZY @$$es and do your job!!! Meaning…adults are so babified anymore & we wonder why our kids are & are turning out this way!!!! My point, “how much you getting PAID Mr. Bus driver & teachers?!” Meaning get off your lazy butt & take the boy to his seat, confinscate it, get back up hand back to let off bus. Teachers same when needs let him have, but when don’t do not, yeah… Might be lil effort but part of your job dealing with kids appropriately!!!

  • sheesh

    I would never, ever deal with kids. Just look at the insane reactions, here. So the kid may have hit someone or done something with the cane that put others at risk of being hit. The school, for some unknown reason, had bought the cane and given it to him. They decided to take it away due to his mishandling of it. Get over it. Get him another cane. Teach him to not “raise it” when it may injure others. Then move on and do something useful with your time, for crying out loud. If you people keep getting everyone who works with kids fired over this kind of nonsense, you’ll all wind up having to homeschool. I know I wouldn’t put up with you or your kids for any amount of money!

    • nicholas

      I respect the bus driver doing his job. We don’t need a trial… Life is unfair anyway sometimes… Good lesson all around for the kid!

  • nicholas

    You abuse it you loose it… The world needs to start taking responsibility for their actions, and pay the consequences! I bet he won’t do it again!

  • kris

    Someone needs to be fired. Whatever his behavior, taking a blind kid’s cane is never warranted any more than taking away a sighted kid’s eyes. Moron.