Deaf Queens man fights back against truck driving school that refuses to teach him

ROCKAWAY BEACH (WABC) -- He looks like anybody, starting a vehicle, going to work, getting on with life.

Only, this life, this story, is a little different.

Kenneth Frilando is deaf and his story is worth hearing. He claims the "Smith & Solomon School of Tractor Trailer Driving" in Linden, New Jersey won't take him on as a student. He says he also has a New York commercial driver's license, and a safety waiver, and now he's filed suit.

"I need to break that door down because that's not fair. Safety is the number one thing that I'm concerned with, but they're just assuming that safety is out the window because the person can't hear, that's not the case," Frilando said.

In a statement, the school cited its strong safety record, saying safety of the public, its students, and staff is of primary concern.

Frilando's lawsuit says the school has to take him on as a student, it would be discrimination otherwise, and he's ready to answer the call from the open road.

"And it is a challenge. I'm not afraid of that challenge, I want to embrace the challenge, but I don't want to be denied that challenge," he said.

There are ways to assist deaf drivers: flashing lights, mirrors and the like.

The school's policy is not to comment on pending litigation, but told it's just not capable or qualified for this.

It's a tough situation, Frilando says he's a good driver, and just wants to learn.
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