The Lookout

School asks deaf preschooler to change his sign language name

The Lookout


Video courtesy KOLN/KGIN 1011 News/Nebraska Central News

Three-and-a-half  year old Hunter Spanjer, who is deaf, signs his name by crossing his forefinger and index finger and moving his hand up and down.

To his family, friends and those who know the Signing Exact English (S.E.E.) language that the Grand Island, Neb., boy uses, that gesture uniquely means "Hunter Spanjer."

But to Hunter's school district, it might mean something else. The district claims that it violates a rule that forbids anything in the school that looks like a weapon, reports KOLN-TV.

And Hunter's parents claim that Grand Island Public Schools administrators have asked them to change their son's sign language name.

"Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous," Hunter's grandmother Janet Logue told the TV station. "This is not threatening in any way."

Hunter's father Brian Spanjer said, "It's a symbol. It's an actual sign, a registered sign, through S.E.E."

The family told KOLN that lawyers from the National Association of the Deaf may push for Hunter's right to sign his name at the school.

Jack Sheard, Grand Island Public Schools spokesperson told KOLN, "We are working with the parents to come to the best solution we can for the child."

One Grand Island resident said she disagrees with the school.

"I find it very difficult to believe that the sign language that shows his name resembles a gun in any way would even enter a child's mind," Fredda Bartenbach said in the news report.

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