- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

CINCINNATI (AP) - A music teacher has filed a federal lawsuit against three school districts in southwest Ohio, alleging he was prevented from teaching there because he’s blind.

The Lakota Local School District, Fairfield City School District and Ross Local School District failed to accommodate Kyle Conley under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Robert Klinger, Conley’s attorney, told The Cincinnati Enquirer (https://cin.ci/2gMxwHX).

Conley lost wages, benefits and other compensation as a result, and suffered emotional distress, Klinger said.

Conley’s lawsuit seeks back pay, other attorney fees and costs and a jury trial. Conley was a substitute teacher at the Butler County school districts.

Roger Martin, the assistant superintendent for Fairfield, wrote a letter to the superintendent of the Warren County Educational Services Center and Southwest Ohio Council of Governments in September 2014, stating they felt Conley couldn’t keep students safe in a possible emergency, according to the lawsuit.

“It is the District’s judgment that utilizing (Mr. Conley) as a substitute teacher without significant assistance creates safety issues for our students, particularly in emergency events, and would adversely affect the quality of the instruction and assessment which take place in the classes,” Martin said in the letter, according to the lawsuit.

Lakota and Ross then blocked him the following year, Conley said. “Because of his blindness,” the lawsuit said.

Scott Gates, Ross Superintendent, said the allegations are unfounded and declined to comment further.

Lakota Schools spokeswoman Lauren Boettcher says the district is still reviewing the complaint with legal counsel, but believes the allegations are unfounded.

Billy Smith, Fairfield Superintendent, said school officials weren’t aware of the lawsuit. He said they don’t comment on pending litigation.

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Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, https://www.enquirer.com

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