Disability Services Q & A

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Janet Killen lead this session with a wonderful Question and Answer theme. She began by giving the status of the disability services department at Wake Tech, and hand out some helpful information on contacting them if we had additional questions. Once we got underway, she explained how students could get help thorough disability servies, and the steps that were required to do so. I had some interesting experiences in teaching web design and graphic design since 2005, and was really interested in getting some answers.

I had one specific question concerning Disability Support Services and accommodating students with disabilities. The question revolved around a single individual, and how our buildings worked.

During one of my night classes off the ground floor, we had a fire drill that required everyone to exit the building by the stairs. I was familiar with the fire drill plan for the room (clearly labeled and laminated in every room), and instructed all students to take the exterior stairs and gather in the parking lot. One student in the class had had a stroke and only had lost the use of one half of his body as a result.

The student did not want to be left behind, and I was required to control the class out in the parking lot. The student requested that I help him down the exterior stairs. At the bottom, I realized that if the student had slipped or been hurt, I would very likely have been liable for the injury. A former law officer mentioned that a “Good Samaritan Law” would not allow me to be sued in the case of injury, but I was sceptical.

How could I avoid that situation in the future, and if I could not, what steps should I take?

Janet Killen was glad for the question, and thanked me for my honesty. She pointed out that within the building in question there was an “Area of Rescue Assistance” which was tucked away with room for individuals with wheelchairs or other conditions. In the event of a fire or other emergency, a firefighter or team of firefighters would be dispatched to carry individuals down those stairs to safety. In that building, the location was difficult to see, but it did indeed exist.

I was very pleased with her answer, and promised to find that location in that building, and in fact to be aware of that location in other buildings as well.