Disabled New Haven teacher sues school district

Feb 6 2017

As it appeared on WTNH.com

By Noelle Gardner

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Paula Langlois has multiple sclerosis. The six-year veteran of Fair Haven Middle School gets around in a wheelchair.

Langlois told News 8, “Just because I can’t physically do what other people are doing, I should still be able to do to my job.”

News 8 first told you about Langlois last May. She asked the district to install a keypad at a handicap accessible door. They did that, but Langlois said it’s not good enough, because she works late.

Langlois added, “Other teachers have access to the building. They can go up the stairs and in the building whenever they choose, other programs at night can go in the building whenever they choose, but my door is the only door that locks at 5 o’clock.”

In response, the City of New Haven said, “School district officials are aware of the lawsuit however, it is the policy and practice of New Haven Public Schools to withhold comment on matters involving pending litigation.”

The other issue is that her handicap-accessible van barely fits into a regular parking space. She said there’s not enough room for the ramp to lower and for the wheelchair to get in and out. Sometimes she’s stuck outside for hours.

Langlois said, “It’s not a handicap spot and people don’t see any marking of any kind so they park up to two inches close to my vehicle at night and I can’t get out.”

Langlois wants a designated handicap parking space with a sign and a ramp in front of the building. She said her wheelchair flipped just last week as she was trying to get to her van.

She said the stress has made her multiple sclerosis worse but said she wants to continue to teach students. Langlois added, “I don’t want to retire. I don’t want to stop teaching. This is my passion in my soul.”

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