Grand Island Preschooler Forbidden Sign Language for His Own Name


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Preschool teachers have got to be some of the dumbest creatures on the planet. They’re weird, ugly, damaged people who work with children because they couldn’t hack the cosmetology program at the local adult school.


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Outrage of the Week: School District Forces Deaf Preschooler Named Hunter to Change Name Sign
In years past, zero-tolerance weapons policies in overzealous school districts have ensnared students for "weapons" such as a Cub Scout camping utensil, a 2-inch Lego toy gun and even a misappropriated chicken finger. But last week, Grand Island Public Schools officials in Grand Island, Neb. went for the record in zero-tolerance hysteria when they sought to bar a three-year-old deaf student from using his name.

The student is Hunter Spanjer, who communicates using a modified version of American Sign Language called Signing Exact English or S.E.E., which is often used with young children to help bolster their English skills. The registered S.E.E. sign for Hunter's name is the forefinger and middle fingers crossed and extended, slightly resembling the ASL sign for gun, or a finger gun children might make during a game of cops and robbers.

Hunter's parents were told by school administrators that the name sign would need to be changed, as it violated the school's weapons policy that forbids students "to knowingly and voluntarily possess, handle, transmit or use any instrument in school, on school grounds or at school functions that is a firearm, weapon, or looks like a weapon." Further, Grand Island Public Schools Marketing and Communication Coordinator Jack Sheard told the New York Daily News that the sign was "not an appropriate thing to do in school."

After taking their story to the local media, the Spanjers have received a nationwide outpouring of support. Thousands have taken to Facebook and online petition sites to register their disgust, and hundreds of others have contacted the school district by phone and email.

Additionally, the National Association of the Deaf came to Hunter's defense, stating, "The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) condemns the actions of Grand Island Public School in Nebraska to require that a 3-year-old deaf boy change the way he signs his name. The NAD is prepared to assist the family in responding to Grand Island Public Schools including through legal action." The NAD press release added, "The NAD is not aware of any other schools that have banned a name sign; Grand Island Public Schools is likely the first to ever to do so." The ACLU has also made clear its disapproval, raising questions about whether the school district's decision violates Hunter's right to practice his chosen form of speech.

Following the public outcry and threats of legal action, the school system appears to be backing away from its original position. In response to a media request, the school district stated, "Grand Island Public Schools is not requiring any current student with a hearing impairment to change his or her sign language name."

Hopefully this issue will be resolved so that Hunter can keep signing his name and the taxpayers of Grand Island are spared the expense of defending a mindless overreaction
NRA-ILA | Outrage of the Week: School District Forces Deaf Preschooler Named Hunter to Change Name Sign


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Deaf Grand Island toddler keeps his name sign

Update : Deaf Grand Island toddler keeps his name sign

You may remember the story about a Grand Island toddler who is deaf and was faced with changing the way he signs his name.

The story went viral, but was he able to keep his name sign?

News 5's Katie Gauthier has the story.

Three year old Hunter signs his name by crossing his first two fingers.

Hunter has been a part of the Grand Island Early Intervention Program since he was about 6 months old and attends preschool at the Early Learning Center in Grand Island.

Back in August, his parents say that Hunter's teacher asked them to change Hunter's sign language name, citing the weapons policy.

However, Grand Island Public Schools said they were not requiring any student to change how their name is signed.

But the two parties have since come to a conclusion, let Hunter keep his name.

"We're going to go ahead and keep his name sign the same," said Brian Spanjer, Hunter's father.

Hunter's parents use SEE or Signing Exact English, while the school district uses ASL or American Sign Language.

"We're going to transition, temporarily going to try ASL and make sure that it doesn't create any communication barriers," Spanjer said. "We're still going to enforce SEE at home of course, but we're going to try to work together as far as that's concerned."

What's the big difference between the two?

"In ASL, you're only signing part of what you say," Spanjer explains. "Whereas in SEE, it's exact, down to the conjunctions. If you've got an apostrophe 's' on a word, you can do that with your hands. So it's an exact replication of the English language."

And the lines of communication between Hunter's parents and the school district are more open.

"A lot more communication, a lot more openness," Spanjer said. "We're trying to work together for Hunter. They've come around on most of the concerns that we've had."

When the story first broke, it went viral.

"I wasn't expecting it at all," Spanjer said. "When I got the call saying he's on the front page of Google, I said, he's what! Wait a minute, who? It caught us off guard. It was definitely a whirl wind."
Deaf Grand Island toddler keeps his name sign | News 5 | News, Weather, Sports for Hastings | Kearney | Grand Island | Nebraska | Local News


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This makes me so angry!!! What the hell is wrong w people these days?! These people are a special kind of stupid!