Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crossing the Line

I read an article yesterday about a little boy who is deaf. He communicates using sign language. Apparently, when he was enrolled in school the school officials felt like the sign that he uses for his name resembles a gun.


Yes, that's right. They think the sign for his name looks like a gun so they've asked the parents to change the sign that he's been using for his name.

This is beyond ridiculous. Asking a child who has already experienced the fact that he's different because he must use his hands to communicate to now change that sign to accommodate an overactive fear is callous and cruel.

I admit that the world today is different from the one I grew up in. While I was in school we had no school shootings. People could go to the movies without worrying about being shot. Violence has definitely escalated over the years and more and more people are using lethal force for no reason. However, even amidst all of this, have we lost our common sense? Are we so saturated with fear that we're willing to take something away from a small child simply because it *might* resemble a gun?

How far are we willing to go? Will we no longer be allowed to point because it might look like a gun?

Some years ago, we had a similar overreaction. A few kids were sent home from school because they'd drawn a picture of a gun. A picture. 

I have lots of kids in school and I absolutely want them to be safe. I expect school officials to do their due diligence in keeping students safe. If there's something amiss then I expect school officials to take care of it properly. A few years ago, a student brandished a knife on the bus. I know the kid and he was just showing off. He wasn't threatening anyone, but still he had a knife and we have very specific rules against bringing knives to school. It was a huge ordeal that included police, sheriffs, locking down all the schools and keeping the buses there for hours. It was very scary during the incident because no one was telling us exactly what was happening. In this instance, I believe the school officials acted with due diligence.

But, asking a kid to change the way he signs his name? That's just ridiculous and completely over-the-top. I hope that in this violent world we can still keep some common sense about us and realize that something like this is unnecessary. And hurtful.


Karlene said...

Ridiculous! His first name is Hunter. Hunters use guns. Maybe all boys named Hunter should be required to change their names.

Rebecca Talley said...

I agree. We're crossing the line of keeping our kids safe when we ask a sweet little boy to change the sign for his name.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

I was astounded when I read the article, too. The school officials are so completely wrong and obviously don't understand how important sign names are in the deaf culture. I would like to see each of the school officials change their names and learn to go by something else. It's not easy to adjust. Grrr!