VLOG – Important Education Decision!

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VLOG – Important Education Decision!

April 19, 2010

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August 2009, something important happened that will impact Deaf schools across Canada!

You know that provincial governments believe Deaf children should be placed in mainstream schools. As a result, the Deaf schools have fewer and fewer students. Many Deaf children in mainstream schools suffer, when they could be succeeding in Deaf schools with ASL/LSQ, Deaf friends, and Deaf teachers.

In Ontario, one family challenged the government. They wanted to place their child in a Deaf school. The government refused. Why? Because the girl can hear with her ears, but she is “brain-deaf” — her brain cannot understand spoken language. But she can understand and communicate with Sign language!

Her family is very supportive of Deaf culture. Her family learned ASL. They recognized their daughter needed ASL environment in school.

The Canadian Association of the Deaf – Association des Sourds du Canada got involved. We helped the family appeal the government’s decision. The government was stubborn and continued to refuse to allow the girl into the Deaf school. Why? Because her audiogram showed she can hear. But audiograms don’t show that the girl is brain-deaf and cannot understand spoken language even if her ears can hear it. Audiograms don’t show the girl is Deaf culture and Deaf language.

CAD-ASC hired a lawyer to help the family — Scott Simser, deaf lawyer in Ottawa. Scott appealed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

In August, the judge ruled in favour of the family. The judge said the government was wrong to reject the girl because of her audiogram. The judge said the government must look at her language needs, too. If she can benefit from ASL education, then she should be allowed to enroll in the Deaf school.

This is fantastic. Two or three years ago, a court in Saskatchewan ruled that the government has a responsibility to provide Deaf children with education in Sign language. Now, a court in Ontario has ruled that the government has a responsibility to accept Deaf children into Deaf schools if they can benefit from Sign — they can’t make a decision only using an audiogram.

So, the courts in two provinces have made rulings that support Deaf schools and support ASL/LSQ education. It is important that we follow-up and pressure all provinces to accept more Deaf students into the Deaf schools. For many children, it is the best choice!