School Girl banned from using sign language.
April 26, 2001 2:47 PM   Subscribe

School Girl banned from using sign language. Why do I feel theres more to this story than the article is providing?
posted by milnak (10 comments total)
Many drivers passing me on the roads use sign language because, I guess, with windows closed, they can not say what they want to say.
posted by Postroad at 2:52 PM on April 26, 2001

I suppose that some sign language gestures, performed in a threatening or "extreme" manner, may be perceived as threatening...perhaps that was the cause of the ban on the bus...? And it is remotely possible that this girl is a troublemaker, isn't it, and that she was justly barred from signing for a legitimate reason? Or are we going to assume that because she is hearing-impaired that she must be noble, heroic, and nice to squirrels? She could be, of course, but you never know, particularly based on the sparse information provided by the CNN article. Not implying anything - just asking everyone to check their assumptions.
posted by davidmsc at 3:20 PM on April 26, 2001

an incident they said caused the girl's hearing damage, when a student set off a bottle rocket in a hallway in November
Whaa? She went deaf and learned sign language due to a bottle rocket 5 months ago? Sounds fishy- but that's what you get with that level of reporting.
posted by metasak at 3:28 PM on April 26, 2001

DavidMSC... well said. I'd also add that kids are often asked to not talk on the bus when it's disruptive. What's the difference here? I wish the article was less sensationalistic and more informative.

Metasal... I thought the exact same thing. 5 months? Wha!?
posted by silusGROK at 3:38 PM on April 26, 2001

It's not impossible. When I was 16, I learned an adequate amount of sign language in about 5 months and worked on the maintenance crew at a deaf summer camp a few months later.

Sign language in 5 months? Sure. I just doubt she was fluent or anything.
posted by tomorama at 4:41 PM on April 26, 2001

When you have no other option, the mind can be amazingly adaptable. Q.v. immersion summer language programs.

There's a little more background in this earlier wire story: other kids were making fun of her and her signing friends, so she was the cause of disruption. Still, that's the parents' story.

I couldn't find any local coverage, oddly.
posted by dhartung at 6:24 PM on April 26, 2001

I heard this story being talked about on a NJ radio talk show last week while driving. The hosts were really pissing me off because of their one-sided view of this story. Everything was slanted towards favoring the girl's story.

They didn't consider the possibility that perhaps the girl and her friend were aggravating the boys into teasing her. 12 year old boys are pretty easily doesn't take much. I can easily see a scenario where the girl and her friend are signing back and forth to each other and giggling to the point where the boys burst out in rambunctiousness. It doesn't excuse anybody's behavior here, but this crappy shoddy reporting and the media's sensationalizing of this story are despicable.
posted by at 8:04 PM on April 26, 2001

mrbarrett: Even if that scenario was true, I don't see how the girl would be to blame - it certainly isn't her fault that 12 year old boys are rambunctious. To look at the situation in an unbiased way, you have to imagine how things would have gone if the girl was speaking rather than signing. Would she be at fault for talking and giggling to a friend if boys had started making fun of her? Would it have been legitimate to ban her from speaking her own language? Sure, there are many imaginable situations in which the girl would have been to blame, but the bias against the deaf is vastly underestimated, especially in schools in which there is no deaf program (many students/teachers/administrators are very uninformed on the issues at hand).

metasak: Perhaps she was using SSS (Sign Supported Speech) rather than ASL (American Sign Language)? SSS isn't a real language - it's just a (rather insufficient) set of codified English words, rather than a language with its own syntax (like ASL). I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if she had learned ASL (or another language) in 5 months out of necessity - what would surprise me, on the other hand, would be if she had been taught/signed to with ASL in a school system that didn't have its own deaf program. But I suppose that's not really relevant to the discussion - it's more personal curiosity than anything.

(Clap your hands, kids, it's my first MeFi post!)
posted by mally ahern at 10:24 PM on April 26, 2001

other kids were making fun of her and her signing friends, so she was the cause of disruption...

I can easily see a scenario where the girl and her friend are signing back and forth to each other and giggling to the point where the boys burst out in rambunctiousness.

Huh??? Yes, all people who look or behave differently are disruptive and should be viewed with suspicion! Those who torment and bully them should be, if not lauded, winked at and forgiven, for after all, they are merely doing society's work... "Blaming the victim" is just crazy liberal lingo for the quite proper goal of keeping weirdos in their place...

And people wonder why kids are shooting up their schools...
posted by rushmc at 8:54 AM on April 27, 2001

In a related story, a 12 year old blind boy from the same school was suspended when he accidentally tapped a student's shoe with his walking stick.
posted by GrooveJedi at 9:48 AM on April 28, 2001

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