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Deaf Community Rallies At Statehouse

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Photo: Dan Goldblatt (WFIU News)

Protesters want Daniels to appoint board members who are more in touch with the Deaf community.

Members of the Deaf community gathered at the Statehouse Tuesday to protest Governor Mitch Daniels’ recent appointments to the Indiana School for the Deaf board.

Parents and students, both deaf and hearing, protested outside the Statehouse, calling for the governor to appoint members to the board more in touch with the deaf community.

One issue protesters say they’re particularly worried about is the board getting rid of American Sign Language, or ASL, at the school. School community spokesperson Tami Hossler, whose daughter is deaf, says two of the new board appointees are anti-ASL.

“They believe in listening and speaking exclusively without American Sign Language and the Indiana School for the Deaf’s educational philosophy is a bilingual philosophy.”

That means students learn both English and ASL. Protesters also argue in favor of more Deaf board members. Currently, on the seven-person board, only one member is Deaf.

But Governor Daniels’ spokesperson Jane Jankowski says the new appointees are very qualified and responsible choices who aren’t being given a fair chance. Jankowski says the governor didn’t have a hidden agenda and won’t rescind the appointments.

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