A school took away an 8-year-old blind boy's cane as punishment for acting up and replaced it with a pool noodle, his father told ABC News today.
Dakota Nafzinger, who was born with no eyes, was listening to his music on the school bus when the driver took it away from him, his father, Donald Nafzinger said. Dakota often taps his cane to the music, but this time, his father said he threw it in the air. Nafzinger said school officials told him they thought Dakota was getting violent.
Then they gave Dakota a foam pool noodle in its place and sent him home with it, Nafzinger said.
"It is his eyes," Nafzinger, 35, told ABC News. "He said he was upset because he that's something he needs to get around with."
Dakota was born with a rare condition called bilateral anophthalmia. Nafzinger said Dakota's mother chose to call the local news media because she feared that "there weren't caring people left in this world."
"They shouldn't treat my kid any different than the kids that have eyes," said Nafzinger, who works in Kansas City, Missouri, as a stage hand. "My kid is normal except he doesn't have eyes."
The school district, North Kansas City Schools, admitted to the mistake and has since given Dakota his cane back. Nafzinger said not only was that a good outcome, but sharing the story has shown his family how many supporters they have.
"The District has reviewed the situation," North Kansas City Schools wrote in a statement. "We regret that a mistake was made in making sure the student was in possession of his cane when he boarded the bus Monday evening. The District has apologized to the family and is working to rectify the situation. When we were made aware of the mistake, corrections were made. It is always the District’s policy when we become aware of situations like this, we thoroughly and immediately investigate to ensure a safe learning environment for all students."