By Rachel Bavister, Staunton NewsLeader 1/31/2012
HB218 “A Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights” was referred from the House Education Committee to Appropriations where it may languish and die UNLESS concerned citizens for an appropriate education for all Virginia’s children get involved.
It is really no surprise that the School Boards Association and the Virginia Association of School Superintendents would have concerns about this bill because if passed, a deaf child’s free, appropriate education will become a law with teeth. Many school boards and superintendents don’t know what is happening in the deaf child’s classroom. Even special education supervisors often don’t have a clue about educating deaf children. Too many schools down the street, pertaining to be the least restrictive environment for deaf children, do not follow regulations, or listen to recommendations. Perhaps legal mandates will change their attitudes.
HB 218 “A Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights” must be released by Appropriations for a vote by the House of Delegates. This is an important and timely bill given the horrible state of education of deaf and hard-of-hearing children in the Commonwealth. HB218 is not a “feel good” bill; it is a bill which recognizes that the least restrictive environment for a deaf child is a language-rich environment. With a law in place, there will be no excuse for schools (from the top down and bottom up) to play lip service to regulations and resolutions.
Our deaf children will finally be guaranteed a free, appropriate, accessible education and, perhaps, policy makers in education will understand that one size does not fit all.
– Thanks to NVRC, Fairfax, Rachel Bavister, and Staunton’s NewsLeader