NFB Members To Attend The Meeting

National Federation of the Blind President Marc Maurer said today, “We the blind intend to be at the meeting of the Board of Regents of the New Mexico School for the Visually Handicapped (NMSVH) scheduled for Friday morning, May 24, at 9:00 a.m. in Alamagordo, New Mexico, to protest the continuation of practices and policies that have resulted in widespread allegations of abuse and neglect of blind children at the school and to demand resignation of long-time board members who were responsible for establishing such policies. More than a hundred representatives of the Federation along with parents of blind children and former students of the New Mexico school for the blind will be in Alamagordo to demand an immediate change of polices and personnel. A majority of the members of this school board have served for decades,” said Maurer.

“They have demonstrated their inability to operate the school effectively, and they have permitted the continuation of policies that have excluded blind teachers and administrators while permitting the superintendent to hire several members of his own family.

“On Friday the board is planning to employ a new superintendent under the same guidelines that were used to select the last one. The school board has failed in its responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for the students,” said Maurer, “and we insist that the long-term board members who are responsible for this failure resign their positions without appointing the new superintendent that is to be hired. Business as usual is destructive of the educational futures for these students, and reform is essential. It must begin with a responsible Board of Regents for the school,” said Maurer.

Last Thursday a delegation of over a hundred former students, parents of blind children, and blind representatives from the National Federation of the Blind visited Governor Gary Johnson to request an immediate review of appointments to the school for the blind Board of Regents. It had been announced previously by the board that a new superintendent would be selected before the end of May. Federation members told the Governor that a new superintendent without reform at the school would be devastating to the blind of New Mexico and that the pattern of abuse which had been revealed at schools for the blind in New Mexico, Illinois, and Arkansas must not be permitted to continue.

“The blind are at risk,” said Maurer, “especially blind children. If we cannot be secure, if we cannot trust those in positions of authority over our children at the school, we can have little hope for any meaningful future.”

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The National Federation of the Blind has more than 50,000 members and is the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind persons. Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, the Federation has chapters in every state and almost every community of any size in the nation. The Federation is not a government organization but is the voice of the blind. One of its principal functions is to be a watchdog concerning the policies and activities of governmental and private agencies providing services to the blind. For further information contact Marc Maurer, President, National Federation of the Blind, 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230, telephone (410) 659-9314.

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