A Nebraska school district is telling the parents of a deaf 3-year-old boy that the sign language for his name, Hunter Spanjer, looks too much like a gun and must be changed.
Despite the fact that Hunter uses Signing Exact English (S.E.E.), the standard sign language, for his name, the school district says that the gestures he makes too closely resemble a gun. The imagery of a “dangerous weapon” is created when he crosses his index and middle fingers and waves them slightly.
But, the child’s name apparently offends the Grand Island School districts “Weapons in Schools” Board Policy 8470 which forbids “any instrument…that looks like a weapon.” This apparently includes a 3-year-old’s hands.
“Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous. This is not threatening in any way,” Hunter’s grandmother Janet Logue told the local NCN news channel.
“We are working with the parents to come to the best solution we can for the child,” Jack Sheard, Grand Island Public Schools spokesperson, told KOLN.
The American Civil Liberties Union has urged the district to reconsider its deeming of the child’s name as an offensive gesture.