The type of punishment many schools have in place for discipline is called public humiliation! I just experienced this two weeks ago.
Is this a CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION? IT’S CALLED DISCRIMINATION!
It breaks my heart to personally witness on Facebook people of ethnicity and with different abilities, gender or sexual orientation being bullied or harassed, sometimes even by those who work in “the system”. What you do not hear about often is our judicial system’s blatant discrimination.
In my recent experience, I was accused of “manipulating the trial” by requesting accommodations for my hearing impairment. The defendant’s attorney said he “spoke loudly” to me and “repeated” questions.
Yes, he repeated questions I had already answered. I mentioned this several times. He was trying to wear me down; that is obviously not the same as being helpful and repeating questions to make sure a hearing impaired person can hear clearly. I am in awe that he made it out his bullying to be a generous contribution to accommodate my hearing impairment. Unbelievable!
I FELT LIKE I WAS IN A CAGE FULL OF TIGERS WITH NO WAY OUT!
The judge was not much better in her observation that “you seemed to do fine last time”. She had denied the request already prepared by the court clerk on the court date itself, nothing was there for accommodations. She was upset that something hadn’t been done sooner, but I had been asking for a month! I had to call our state capital to get enough information to get to the people that could help me. The DA had been informed a week prior to the first court date.
I’m standing up in the room while she “tests” my hearing by me having to raise my hand when I could not hear so she could be the deciding factor of whether or not she would allow me to have accommodations. At some point, she said to me “ you realize you’ve been talking to me for the past 10 minutes and have heard me” She simply assumed I heard everything. I had repeatedly explained that VOLUME does not FIX hearing impairment. I said it three times so I wonder sometimes who has the hearing impairment.
YOU CANNOT ANSWER WHAT YOU DO NOT HEAR!
People are so uneducated on different abilities. They are educated people who swear to uphold ethical standards and the law. Yet they do know the law in regards to the ADA. A specialist in hearing abilities had to call and explain that “you cannot answer what you do not hear”.
Is this not common sense? People that are hearing-abled do not know this? No one can answer what they do not hear.
It infuriated me. After all, hearing people cannot answer something they do not hear either!
The judge continued to look at the guidelines but what she read and what I I read must be two different pages from the state statutes. What I read said ability must be “equal to” that of a hearing person.
Prior to going to the courtroom, the court advocate came up to me while we were waiting. Asked how my hearing is today? I looked at him with disbelief.
He said, “That is kind of a weird question.” I agreed. He rephrased it to “how are you hearing today?” I answered bluntly “Fine. I’m reading your lips”. Looking back now the ignorance of asking someone with hearing issues that question.
TRYING TO FORCE A HEARING IMPAIRED PERSON TO FIT IN A HEARING WORLD
All in all, it was a demeaning afternoon in the presence of people who were both insensitive and uneducated about what being hearing impaired means. Different people have different types of hearing impairments. Some need volume and some need computer programmed hearing aids that provide for their lack of tone. It is not one-thing-fix-all.
What does this mean from the perspective of the agencies in my county? Our city is very untrained, uneducated and insensitive to those that need hearing assistance. It means that they feel they have to the right to judge as laypeople whether or not you have a severe loss and make a judicial rule to allow you to be able to hear or not. They never asked for my medical records or a letter of diagnosis. The judge decided she would “hear the case right now” in front of everyone.
What angers me is that no one can really tell if someone has heard anything unless they ask them to repeat it. Interestingly, that never happened once. Seems like a fairly simple solution to me.
We have not come far enough in our efforts to have equal rights regardless of gender, sexual choices, race and differently abled! We are still a world trying to force people to conform to a standard not of their choice or making, regardless of their ability to do so. This must change.
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