I’m hoping it’s just a matter of more focused reporting but it certainly seems to me, lately, that school officials are blindly laying aside their common sense and good judgment to follow idiotic rules that pander to people’s fears. Exhibit A for the week is the Grand Island Public School system in Nebraska where a deaf 3-year-old’s parents are being told he’s got to learn to refer to himself using some other kind of hand sign:
A Grand Island father, whose 3-year-old son is hearing-impaired, is upset with the boy’s principal. The dad claims the family was asked to have the boy use a different sign language technique to sign his name.
Hunter Spanjer’s name sign involves crossing his fingers, like one might symbolize shooting guns. It’s a registered name sign through SEE, shorthand for Signing Exact English. Hunter’s father Brian says Grand Island Public Schools told him the sign violates the district’s weapons policy.
So, let me get this straight. An internationally-recognized term expressed in a language that doesn’t happen to be spoken English and that is used, properly, as a name is being effectively banned by school officials because they’re concerned it’ll make someone afraid they’re being threatened with a deadly weapon? By a deaf 3-year-old boy? Oh, yes… that just exudes all kinds of confidence in the maturity and capability of these so-called “officials”.
If this represents a violation of the school’s “weapons policy” then it’s clear that the policy is faulty, not the kid’s name. This is just another manifestation of the mistaken idea that the very sight – or suggestion, in this case, of a gun is inherently dangerous. It is a policy rooted in fear and maintained by a willful ignorance, both of which are concepts that education is supposed to be countering, not fostering. Honestly, I cannot understand how allegedly intelligent, educated adults could look at this situation and reasonably conclude that the child should have to literally change how he references himself in order to allow the adults at the schools to continue to live in a fairy-tale idea that this, somehow, contributes to the safety of all. The child’s name is “Hunter.” How long before someone decides that such a term is too associated with the use of weapons to permit someone to be called such at school.
My sister’s grandson is named “Gunnar.” How would they handle that? Would they permit him to even write his name down? If so, why, given the policy and their clear interpretation of it?
This is just nonsense run amok and the parents of a 3-year-old are paying the price of someone else’s fear. Some hyperventilating shrink trying to find some way to get into the history books has used that fear to make people believe that if we let kids point their hands like a gun, they’ll come in and kill off their graduating class in short order. It’s ridiculous and the ramifications of listening to that kind of tripe leads us to situations like what’s going on here in Grand Island. Set it aside and let Hunter speak his name in the only manner he knows how.