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Deaf Boy's Parents Concerned About Name

GRAND ISLAND, Neb., (UPI) –  The parents of a 3-year-old deaf boy in Nebraska said officials at his public preschool want him to change the sign for his name, a gesture resembling a gun.

Brian Spanjer and Morgan Hurt, parents of Hunter Spanjer, said the boy uses the gesture from Signing Exact English to sign his name, but staff at the Early learning Center run by Grand Island Public Schools want him to change the sign because it resembles a gun, NBC News reported Wednesday.

Janet Logue, Hunter’s grandmother, said her grandson is “confused” at school when teachers spell out his name instead of using the sign.

A school spokesman said he could not directly address the complaint due to privacy rules, but said no deaf students have been asked to change their names.

“Grand Island Public Schools has not changed the sign language name of any student, nor is it requiring any student to change how his or her name is signed,” spokesman Jack Sheard said. “The school district teaches American Sign Language for students with hearing impairments. ASL is recommended by the Nebraska Department of Education and is widely used in the United States. The sign language techniques taught in the school district are consistent with the standards of the Nebraska Department of Education and ASL.”

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  • Kinetic1

    Yes, the boy’s name is signed with the same gesture as the SEE (Signed Exact English) sign for “hunt”, so it does look a little like shooting a pistol, but asking a deaf person to spell out their name instead of using a sign is like telling a hearing student that the must orally spell out their name to avoid confusion between “Cox” and “cocks”.

    it’s awkward enough to ask a deaf student to use SEE, which has a sign for every part of the english language. The deaf community, by and large uses ASL(American Sign Language), where words like “is” are left out of conversation, much like texting. It simply speeds up the conversation. Of course this means that learning to read and write in school is a little like learning a second language, but given the fact that a deaf person can not “sound out” words, it’s going to be a little like that no matter what. This was a common issue years ago when schools insisted on using ASE (American Signed English) and would punish students for using ASL on the playground. It seems to be rather difficult for hearing adults to understand the world of the deaf and get past what they feel is right for the deaf community.

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