An 8-year-old blind boy from North Kansas City reportedly had his cane taken away by a school bus driver from Gracemor Elementary School, who replaced it with a swimming pool noodle – and the child’s parents are livid.
The bus driver reportedly took away Dakota Nafzinger's cane as a way of punishing him. As a substitute, he gave him the pool noodle, which North Kansas City School District Spokeswoman Michelle Cronk claims was only done so they could protect Dakota and other students, reports Fox 4 News.
Cronk says the cane was school property given to Dakota when he enrolled as a student and that they had the right to take it away if they felt students were being threatened with it. The bus driver says the boy hit another student with his cane and he had to take it away.
But Dakota’s mother, Rachel Nafzinger, says his cane was taken from her child in order to humilate him and that he isn’t able to function normally using a pool noodle substitute.
“Why would you do that?” Nafzinger asked. “Why would you take the one thing that he’s supposed to use all the time? That’s his eyes.”
Dakota, who was born with Bilateral Anopthalmia, said school administrators told him he would be given the pool noodle for two weeks. His mother is protesting the decision, saying he has gone through so much in life already and that it is wrong to put him “in that position.”
Dakota’s father, Donald Nafzinger, agrees.
“All around, he’s a good little guy, and he shouldn’t be treated the way he’s being treated,” Nafzinger said.
There is a possible bright side to the story: after Dakota’s story went public, a viewer reportedly contacted the family wanting to buy the child his own cane.