By Neetzan Zimmerman
A deaf preschooler in Grand Island, Nebraska, has been prohibited from signing his own name because school administrators believe the gesture he uses looks too much like a gun.
“He’s deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy,” Hunter Spanjer’s father Brian told Channel 10/11.
Hunter uses Signing Exact English or SEE — a form of manual communication that uses modified ASL handshapes in an effort to better mimic the spoken English language.
“Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous,” Hunter’s grandmother told the news outlet. “This is not threatening in any way.”
The preschool, which has a strict zero-tolerance policy toward “any instrument…that looks like a weapon,” would not discuss the matter, but said they were working with the parents on a compromise.
Meanwhile, the ACLU and the National Association of the Deaf have reached out to the family in support, committing themselves to assist should a legal avenue be pursued.
- Deaf preschooler may have to change sign for his name because it ‘looks like a weapon’ (EndtheLie.com)
- Grand Island Preschooler Asked to Change the Sign for His Name in School (1011now.com)
- District Says Deaf Preschooler’s Sign for His Name Violates Weapons Policy (fox4kc.com)
- Deaf preschooler asked to change his name (gnosticbent.wordpress.com)
- District says deaf preschooler’s sign for name violates weapons policy (myfox8.com)
- School demands that boy must change his name from Hunter because it violates its weapons policy (boingboing.net)