[Nfbnet-members-list] National Federation of the Blind Demands that Policymakers Protect and Assist Blind Students During COVID-19 Emergency

Danielsen, Chris CDanielsen at nfb.org
Sat Mar 21 14:58:21 UTC 2020

National Federation of the Blind Demands that Policymakers Protect and Assist Blind Students During COVID-19 Emergency

Washington, DC (March 20, 2020): The National Federation of the Blind, America's civil rights organization of the blind, today expressed its absolute opposition to any proposal in COVID-19 emergency legislation, or any other legislative or regulatory action, that would undermine the rights of blind students and other students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and other applicable laws during the crisis.

"Congress is considering actions that would threaten the educational rights of blind students like my two daughters and jeopardize the provision of accessible textbooks and course materials, Braille instruction, and much more - all at a time when blind students need these services the most given that many public schools are closed and they, like their peers, are expected to learn at home," said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. "We all recognize the national COVID-19 emergency, but it does not justify discrimination against the blind or other students with disabilities. Instead of cruelly undermining the rights of the blind and others, Congress should provide additional resources to school systems so that they can better meet the needs of students with disabilities during this crisis. Lawmakers should not relegate disabled students to second-class status by undermining our rights while providing relief and assistance to other groups and industries affected by this emergency. The National Federation of the Blind will remain vigilant and continue to vigorously oppose any provision or action that erodes the fundamental right of blind students to an equal education."

What You Can Do

Call or email your two senators today and ask them to vote against this proposal. Currently offices are swamped with phone calls, so it may be better to email your two senators and advocate against any legislation that could undermine the rights of people with disabilities.

When you call or email, you might say something like the following:

"Hello, my name is [your name] and I am a constituent of [your senator]. I live in [city, state]. I am calling to urge [your senator] to advocate against any legislation that could undermine the rights of people with disabilities. While the COVID-19 outbreak has placed a tremendous and unprecedented strain on schools and districts, it is imperative that we work together to find solutions that allow children to receive equal access to an education and the services that support them without undoing all of their civil and educational rights. I am writing as a concerned (parent, teacher, blind person, etc.) to urge you to reject any provision that would negatively impact the civil rights of people with disabilities. Please support your constituents with disabilities in achieving equality, opportunity, and security during this critical time in America.


(Your Name)"

You can contact your senators by calling the Capitol Switchboard and asking for the office in question. The number is 202-224-3121. If you email your senators, please copy Stephanie Flynt at sflynt at nfb.org<mailto:sflynt at nfb.org>. Your calls and emails do make a difference.

It is best to call or email the relevant education staffer in your member of Congress's office. If you need the name and email of the appropriate staff person for any Senate  office, please email Jesa Medders at jmedders at nfb.org<mailto:jmedders at nfb.org>.


About the National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. Founded in 1940, the NFB consists of affiliates, chapters, and divisions in the fifty states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB defends the rights of blind people of all ages, and provides information and support to families with blind children, older Americans who are losing vision, and more. We believe in the hopes and dreams of blind people and work together to transform them into reality. Learn more about our many programs and initiatives at nfb.org<https://www.nfb.org/>.
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
410-659-9314, extension 2330
410-262-1281 (cell)
cdanielsen at nfb.org<mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>

this press release is also available at: https://www.nfb.org/about-us/press-room/national-federation-blind-demands-policymakers-protect-and-assist-blind

Christopher S. Danielsen, J.D.
Director of Public Relations
200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230
(410) 659-9314, Ext. 2330 | cdanielsen at nfb.org
Twitter: @rlawyer

[National Federation of the Blind]<https://nfb.org/>

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The National Federation of the Blind is a community of members and friends who believe in the hopes and dreams of the nation's blind. Every day we work together to help blind people live the lives they want.


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