TULSA, OKLA. – For the first time, Oklahoma School for the Blind students and faculty – even the Jazz Band -- are traveling to Tulsa to celebrate National White Cane Safety Day on Tuesday, Oct. 10.
OSB organizers will display free educational exhibits and present demonstrations throughout the day from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. at Woodland Hills Mall, located at 7021 S. Memorial Road.
Demonstrations will include travel techniques, use of dog guides and assistive technology.
OSB’s White Cane Day activities help the community understand the connection between effective cane use and independence, and provide information about free services offered by OSB to students with visual disabilities across the state.
OSB is headquartered in Muskogee, but serves students with visual disabilities throughout Oklahoma in its role as a statewide resource center.
The school is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
“We are thrilled to bring OSB’s White Cane Safety Day celebration to Tulsa this year and appreciate Woodland Hills Mall for hosting this event,” OSB Superintendent Rita Echelle said. “OSB students will have the chance to demonstrate their white cane travel skills, to meet and educate new people about blindness and to celebrate the many accomplishments of people with vision impairments.”
The OSB Jazz Band, which earned 2-A state championships, will perform at 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Following a walk in the mall at 5 p.m. with students and others who are blind, OSB will celebrate with a White Cane Safety Day ceremony at 5:30 p.m.
For more information about the Oklahoma School for the Blind or National White Cane Safety Day, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 877-229-7136.
White Cane History
The first white cane laws were drafted around the time that National White Cane Safety Day was established by presidential proclamation in 1964. Today, similar laws exist in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia.
Under Oklahoma law, only blind people may carry white canes with or without red tips, which are universally recognized as mobility aids for people with vision impairments.
Oklahoma law requires drivers to completely stop their vehicles 15 feet away from pedestrians who are visually impaired and identified by their use of white canes or dog guides. People who violate this law are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to three months or $100 fine or both.
Approximately 3.3 percent of the non-institutionalized population or 124,400 Oklahomans have vision difficulties and may be potential white cane or dog guide users.
Legal blindness occurs when vision is 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, or the visual field is restricted to 20 degrees or less.
The Oklahoma School for the Blind is the statewide resource for the education of blind and visually impaired students. Residential and commuter students meet all state-mandated education requirements and receive specialized instruction in Braille, orientation and mobility, optimum use of low vision, adaptive equipment technology and tactile graphic skills not readily available at other public schools in the state. OSB also provides thousands of hours of free services each year for students attending local public schools, their families and local school staff.