KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Doug Baldridge says he just wants to do his job and claims the district removed him from that job because of his disability.
A quadriplegic for almost forty years, Baldridge can do a lot on his own, but he said there are a few things he can't do alone. Baldridge said he spent years as a guidance counselor at James Elementary with a paraprofessional by his side to help him take his coat off or put on the hand brace that helps him eat.
In the lawsuit, the issues begin with an injury Baldridge got at work in 2012. After weeks on medical leave, Baldridge claimed the district began reviewing his accommodations. In September 2013, the district told him he would no longer be provided with a paraprofessional and he was placed on administrative leave. Then in December, he got a temporary placement at East High School but no job description, time frame or accommodations.
Baldridge claimed on one January day, he wasn't told staff would be gone from school When he arrived, he had to "wait outside in his wheelchair for approximately fifteen minutes in the cold". When he was let in, he was "in the building for several hours without any assistance and was unable to eat or drink."
Kansas City Public Schools district officials declined an interview but did release a statement saying,
"Kansas City Public Schools was surprised to receive the lawsuit by Mr. Joseph D. Baldridge since he remains fully employed with KCPS as a guidance counselor at one of our district schools. Mr. Baldridge is expected to return to his assignment in August 2014. Mr. Baldridge has received full pay and benefits throughout his employment with Kansas City Public Schools."
You can read their full statement here:
You can read the full petition filed against the district here: