School Punishes Blind Child By Replacing Cane With Pool Noodle

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KANSAS CITY (WDAF) - 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.


  • bobreal

    That is Sad But if he was STRIKING people with it after be told not to be hitting people or objects with it they had to do something or the Bus Driver and The School could be held LIABLE if he hit someone,,.. The Guardians needs to take their son to school so he won’t need to ride..

  • Emily

    This is disgusting. As a mum with a blind child I hope this school realizes how wrong they were. I highly doubt he hit anyone with it. A cane is a tool to ensure a blind persons safety. How in the world they thought a pool noodle was a good substitute is beyond me. I hope this child doesn’t get into harms way for their stupidity.

  • Jenn

    the has violated the disability act by taken his cane away. You can’t substitute a pool noodle for a cane. The school also errored when they said they gave him the cane. That is wrong, the tax payers did.

  • L. Rogers

    Maybe he was acting up because he was being bullied on the bus. Did anyone check this?
    Is it necessary that he ride the bus? How can he find his way down the steps of the bus with a wimpy
    noodle. Administrators need to rethink this situation. Just put yourself in that child’s place. Maybe you would think a little different.

  • Ashley

    He must have felt extremely vulnerable without his cane. Different seating arrangements could have been considered before taking away the child’s cane. He could have been suspended from the bus or sent home with a note…a cane isn’t an accessory.

  • Lisa

    SHAME ON YOU KANSAS CITY SCHOOLS!! The person that had the final say at taking away his cane should be FIRED ASAP!!

  • zztopperman

    I tend to agree with Bob. I don’t care if the kid is blind, it doesn’t give him the right to purposely strike other children on the bus, if that indeed what was happening. Apparently that was what the bus driver felt was going on….why else would he lodge a complaint that resulted in the child losing his cane? Perhaps the blind kid was the one being the bully.

  • Sean

    I saw JudgeJim Spears take away custody of three kids for less (the mom made the kids do push-up position for 2-5 minutes as punishment). PLEASE, Judge Spears…save our children from the cruel and unusual punishment!

    I don’t think the school should replace a blind child’s cane with a “pool noodle”. Save us Jim. You’re the hero who only cheated on his wife when necessary.

  • Sentinal

    If the boy was hitting other students with the cane, it should have been taken away. The same folks who think this is wrong would also want to hang the bus driver if the blind kid hit their little Johnny on the head with his cane.

    • Lucy

      Sometimes people get hit with canes. He couldn’t see where he was hitting now could he? My father used to accidentally bump someone’s foot or leg with his. I think someone at the school went overboard. And I hope they get a big fat ADA lawsuit on top of it.

  • OBXBoost

    How many buses in the country have video recording devices installed in them? Before jumping to conclusions on hearsay, roll the footage and the truth shall set you free.

  • Deb Nix

    I agree. If the child hit someone with this cane why did the school take this action? Did the incident take place on the way to school and the parents were not notified of the substitution? Were they notified and went along with the school’s idiotic ‘remedy’ the next time he rode the bus? Also, I understand mainstreaming students and preparing them for the world, but at this boy’s age, I probably would be escorting him to/from school.The story is not complete enough for me.



  • R.G.

    Here’s an idea….How about rendering the cane harmless by putting the pool noodle OVER the cane while he’s on the bus? Then, if he hits someone (or something ie a window) it won’t do any damage. It wouldn’t take but a few seconds for the driver or a teacher to slip it on and off.

  • zztopperman

    I would assume the little boy is just blind…nothing was said about him being mentally impaired! Therefore I assume he’s a pretty sharp little boy that’s probably pretty intelligent. And in this case pretty spoiled rotten. I seriously doubt the little boy was simply hitting people by accident with his cane or that it was an isolated incident that he had not been talked to about and then warned about when the hitting continued. If that is not the case, then I am sure those of you that love to see lawsuits happen will get your wish. Just keep in mind that none of us were there and the school could easily be doing the best thing for the students! All of them. Not just the one that is possibly spoiled rotten because he gets extra special treatment because of his disability! Special modifications are necessary…but allowing a child to smack people with his cane because he’s blind only would be setting him up for failure, if that was what actually was taking place! The world is too sue happy!
    As a dad that had a child with a disability, one where the school thumbed it’s nose at the law, and ignored following what they were required to do, I know that some schools can be wrong. I just like to look at every situation from all sides. We never sued, but we could have.

  • Happycat2

    Here is the real issue-he should be in a school for the blind, not the public school system. Just because the government mandates that schools take in any child with disabilities and make accommodations for them does not mean this is the best learning environment for them. Schools for the blind will be staffed with people whom are better equipped and educated to care for the special needs of this child. As someone that works in the public school systems I can tell you there are many children whom would benefit by being sent to schools specifically designed for their individual needs.

    • Emily

      You’re right. He should be. But, like my son, he may not be eligible for the school for the blind. Public school is not the first option when you have a blind child I can promise you that.

  • Realist!

    For one, why don’t the parents buy their child a cane, why does the school have to provide it? Two, the little brat got what he deserved, he should have got swats or in school suspension as well!! Accountability for your actions, no disability should shield anyone from that!!

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