ATLANTA - The treatment of a disabled north Georgia man is making international headlines.
The Habersham County teacher, who traveled 8,000 miles to teach abroad, said he was fired because of the way he looks.
Brett Chosewood, 31, is a trained teacher with a master’s degree. He was disabled by a stroke at birth and walks with a limp and has little use of one arm.
He’s currently working for just above minimum wage at the Cornelia, Ga. public library.
Chosewood expected to earn more than $50,000 this year. He signed a two-year contract to teach English at a private school in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.
“The salary was good, a bit more than I would make here. About $5,000 to $10,000 more and they were providing a fully furnished apartment,” Chosewood told Channel 2’s Diana Davis.
Chosewood said the minute school administrators got a look at him, he was ushered out of teacher orientation and isolated in an office for hours.
“The tension was palpable, you know? I mean, you could tell they clearly didn’t know what to do with me,” Chosewood said.
Chosewood admitted he never mentioned his disability, since it’s never affected his job performance.
“It wasn't a deliberate deception, it was just because it’s never been an issue before,” Chosewood said.
He said was fired two days later and told by school administrators to get out of the country.
“And they said the students aren't used to people with disabilities, and they would be distracted and confused,” Chosewood said. “They told me I had 30 days, but the two days later they called and kicked me out of my apartment.”
Chosewood told Davis that a friend in Dubai took him in and pressured the school to pay for his ticket home.
The friend also contacted the Dubai press, and the story made headlines. Chosewood said he not only wants an apology, but change.
“If I can speak out and stand up for the people who haven’t had a chance to say something, then maybe eventually something will be done, and a difference will be made. I hope,” he said.
Chosewood told Davis he hasn’t given up on his dream of teaching overseas. He has applications in to China and Europe.