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
California: Governor Brown Takes Action on Final Firearm-Related Bills

Monday, September 26, 2016

California: Governor Brown Takes Action on Final Firearm-Related Bills

Today, Governor Brown made his decision on the final firearm-related bills of the 2016 legislative session that made it to his desk.   Governor Brown vetoed two anti-gun bills, AB 450 and SB 1332, and signed ...

Not The Victim Hillary Needs

News  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Not The Victim Hillary Needs

This feature appears in the October ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association. “Why can’t everyone just have their DNA on file? Then it would ...

California: Referendum Update

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

California: Referendum Update

On behalf of the National Rifle Association (NRA), we would like to thank all of the volunteers and individuals who participated in the Veto Gunmageddon ballot referendum qualification effort.  Despite the tremendous efforts of all involved, ...

Hillary: Contempt For The Truth And American Freedom

News  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hillary: Contempt For The Truth And American Freedom

There is no greater danger to American liberty and to the security of our nation than a Hillary Clinton administration. To see the future if Clinton were to take the White House, look no further ...

Trump: The Official NRA Q&A

News  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trump: The Official NRA Q&A

This year’s race for the White House is like no other in our history. Hillary Clinton has made it clear that, if elected, she will come after our firearm freedoms on her very first day ...

War on Terror or a War on Guns?

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

War on Terror or a War on Guns?

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, was in New York City recently on an official visit. Commenting on the bombs that exploded while he was in town, he opined that such attacks are now simply ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

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 as legal advice or a restatement of law.

News  

Friday, July 1, 2016

California Governor Signs Draconian Gun Control Package into Law

Fairfax, Va.— California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday a package of gun bills that were rushed through the state legislature with no regard for proper process. The National Rifle Association Institute for ...

Show Your Support—NEW NRA Yard Signs Available!

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Show Your Support—NEW NRA Yard Signs Available!

Show your support for NRA and the Second Amendment this election cycle by purchasing an NRA yard sign.  With everything that is at stake this year, including the Presidency, the balance of the U.S. Senate ...

Virginia Politician and Clinton Backer Brands Trump Supporters as “Mentally Deficient”

News  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Virginia Politician and Clinton Backer Brands Trump Supporters as “Mentally Deficient”

With the presidential race tighter than ever as it heads into its final stretch, panicked Hillary Clinton supporters are desperate to find a way to discredit, not just Donald Trump, but anyone who would dare ...

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.