NRA Explore
APPEARS IN News

Outrage of the Week: School District Forces Deaf Preschooler Named Hunter to Change Name Sign

Friday, August 31, 2012

In years past, zero-tolerance weapons policies in overzealous school districts have ensnared students for "weapons" such as a Cub Scout camping utensil, a 2-inch Lego toy gun and even a misappropriated chicken finger. But last week, Grand Island Public Schools officials in Grand Island, Neb. went for the record in zero-tolerance hysteria when they sought to bar a three-year-old deaf student from using his name.

The student is Hunter Spanjer, who communicates using a modified version of American Sign Language called Signing Exact English or S.E.E., which is often used with young children to help bolster their English skills. The registered S.E.E. sign for Hunter's name is the forefinger and middle fingers crossed and extended, slightly resembling the ASL sign for gun, or a finger gun children might make during a game of cops and robbers.

Hunter's parents were told by school administrators that the name sign would need to be changed, as it violated the school's weapons policy that forbids students "to knowingly and voluntarily possess, handle, transmit or use any instrument in school, on school grounds or at school functions that is a firearm, weapon, or looks like a weapon."  Further, Grand Island Public Schools Marketing and Communication Coordinator Jack Sheard told the New York Daily News that the sign was "not an appropriate thing to do in school."

After taking their story to the local media, the Spanjers have received a nationwide outpouring of support. Thousands have taken to Facebook and online petition sites to register their disgust, and hundreds of others have contacted the school district by phone and email.

Additionally, the National Association of the Deaf came to Hunter's defense, stating, "The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) condemns the actions of Grand Island Public School in Nebraska to require that a 3-year-old deaf boy change the way he signs his name. The NAD is prepared to assist the family in responding to Grand Island Public Schools including through legal action." The NAD press release added, "The NAD is not aware of any other schools that have banned a name sign; Grand Island Public Schools is likely the first to ever to do so." The ACLU has also made clear its disapproval, raising questions about whether the school district's decision violates Hunter's right to practice his chosen form of speech.

Following the public outcry and threats of legal action, the school system appears to be backing away from its original position. In response to a media request, the school district stated, "Grand Island Public Schools is not requiring any current student with a hearing impairment to change his or her sign language name."

Hopefully this issue will be resolved so that Hunter can keep signing his name and the taxpayers of Grand Island are spared the expense of defending a mindless overreaction.

TRENDING NOW

News  

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Obama's Social Security Administration to Strip Millions of Americans of their Right to Keep and Bear Arms

As the L.A. Times reported on July 18, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is currently developing a program to ...

News  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

No Support for Military Right-to-Carry from Obama, Everytown, and Odierno

Support for allowing military personnel to carry firearms for self-protection following the terrorist attack upon military personnel in Chattanooga ...

News  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NRA Applauds Congressman Johnson for Swift Action on Social Security Gun Grab

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) lauded Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways ...

News  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Presidential Candidates, Members of Congress, and Governors Call for Military Right-to-Carry

Following the murder of four U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy sailor by a terrorist in Chattanooga, presidential ...

News  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Gun Control Group Would Endanger Military by Politicizing Firearm Procurement Process

As if misguided anti-gun policies that leave our fighting men and women defenseless stateside weren’t enough, some gun ...

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered ...

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Washington: USFS Hosting Meeting August 4 to Discuss Recreational Shooting in Snoqualmie Ranger District

The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled a second meeting to discuss recreational shooting in the Snoqualmie Ranger District ...

News  

Friday, July 24, 2015

"High Society" Types Sued Over Anti-Gun "Bracelets"

As the saying goes, "you can't make this stuff up." A lawsuit has been filed in Manhattan against ...

Lucky Gunner  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Vote for NRA-ILA to Help it Beat the Anti-Gunners!

It doesn't get much easier than this. By going to www.LuckyGunner.com/Brady-v-Lucky-Gunner, then scrolling down to click on "National ...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

California: Two Proposed Anti-Gun Ordinances Expected to be Heard on Tuesday, July 28

On Tuesday, July 28, the Los Angeles County City Council is expected to hear two proposed anti-gun ordinances. 

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.