It’s been 10 years since I graduated high school. It seems strange to me, because I never would have thought I’d be living in Louisville, or have sold a show to MLB Network. I pictured myself living in New York because of transportation, and working in radio. I now can’t ever see myself living in New York I hate all the taxes. I had an opportunity to work with Elvis Duran a few years ago, but the job would have not paid me enough to live comfortably. I feel at times I’ve been scared about taking a risk, but I also know what it’s like to be jobless 63 percent of blind people also feel that pain. I don’t know if it is those stats, or the fear of possibly failing.
One incident I think about a lot, because it still bothers me is when a math teacher in high school deliberately discriminated against me and was allowed to do so. I will run through the events on what happened, and I graduated college passing an algebra class so you can decide on who was right. I had a teacher in High school named Dick Simons. His name was actually Richard, but I think the alternative fits him better. I would normally change the name, but he is probably dead now, so I don’t care. Anyway math was a harder subject for me, because it was pretty visual. Meaning basically the teacher would stand up draw the equations on the board and solve it. If you’re blind there really isn’t a lot of verbal going on or hands on for this. When I was really young I used an abacus for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Since I couldn’t see it on paper the abacus allowed me to see the numbers and be able to do things like carry over numbers. Anyway in high school I would use my computer and show my work and print it off on paper and turn it in. I did this for 17 weeks. Mr. Simons then called a meeting with my parents and principal to discuss me not graduating, because he couldn’t read my work. I had 3 girls from my class come in and verify that I knew how to do the work. In the meeting he called me a class clown which was untrue. If anything I slept a lot do to not being engaged because of the chalkboard. He then said the papers I turned in were unreadable.
My argument was you’ve had 17 weeks to tell me this, but yet you’ve said nothing. I was about to graduate and I felt he was trying to keep me held back. I had already gotten in to Ball State, and this was pretty crazy. My grandparents also attended the meeting, and basically what was decided is I’d have to take a summer course, but not at the school but through some catalog school. I took the class, and within the first week my teacher Kim said she felt I was done a disservice. For one of the questions we had to ask a biologist to make sure my work was correct. The book had way harder questions than we ever did in that dumb class. The thing that irritated me more the principal said that Mr. Simons would be fired or not be working there anymore and he flat out lied to me. The next year he was still working no penalty or anything.
I called the National Federation for the Blind, and spoke to a lawyer and was advised they didn’t want to get involved. I decided that day I’d never be part of an organization that wouldn’t help fight for what was right. They pick their battles I get that, but this was pretty clear for what it was. My school system got federal money for me going there which I never saw a dime of could it be they were going to miss that? I remember graduation walking across the stage where the principal all most didn’t shake my hand, and I just knew then what had happened.
This one thing really put a damper on what I thought of the school system. Fine let’s say Mr. Simons couldn’t read my work why not address it on the first assignment I turned in. Why did I have a B on my progress report for the first 4 weeks? When I graduated college, and got my first job it was like this is me getting even. I sympathize with people who get discriminated on, because it is a real thing. If I can help anyone in any way with my stories, or being in there corner just contact me and I’ll do what I can.
This was a low point in my life, because no one believed me. The only people that did were the girls who came to the meeting for me. My parents grounded me before the meeting, but afterword’s they took my side. I kept trying to tell them, but they didn’t want to hear me. Personally I couldn’t or can’t thank Tasha, Brandy and Kyra enough for what they did. I was thinking about the reunion and if I wanted to try and attend, and this event flashed in my mind. It’s been a while, so some details I forgot, but I just remember feeling with how they stacked the deck against me they never wanted me to graduate that year. They also took away my core40 diploma, but oh well that diploma doesn’t mean anything anymore anyway.