School tells 3-year-old deaf student named Hunter to use a new hand sign for his name as it looks like a gun
A school district has demanded a three-year-old deaf student named Hunter use a different hand sign for his name as the current gesture resembles a gun, his parents have claimed.
The Grand Island, Nebraska district reportedly has a policy forbidding children from bringing “any instrument that looks like a weapon” to school.
School administrators claim Hunter Spanjer”s name sign, which he makes by crossing his index finger and middle finger and then shaking his hands, violates that policy, his parents said.
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Controversy: Three-year-old Hunter Spanjer, who is deaf, has reportedly been told to change the hand sign for his name by his school district as it resembles a gun
While it is perhaps unsurprising that the sign for the name Hunter resembles a gun, supporters of the family have argued that it is not something the little boy will be aware of.
“Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous. This is not threatening in any way,” the boy”s grandmother, Janet Logue, told KOLN.
“His name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy,” his father, Brian Spanjer, added. “It”s a registered sign through S.E.E.” – which stands for Signing Exact English, a sign language system.
The boy has slightly modified the S.E.E. sign by crossing his fingers, which his family claims makes it personal to the youngster.
Grand Island resident Fredda Bartenbach added: “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.”
Speaking to KOLN, the school district was not forthcoming with details into the incident.
Sign: Hunter signs his name by crossing his fingers (as pictured top) and moving his hands up and down. The school district reportedly claims it looks too much like a gun sign (pictured bottom)
“We are working with the parents to cometo the best solution we can for the child,” Jack Sheard, Grand Island Public Schools spokesperson, said.
Yet he later claimed the issue was a “misunderstanding” which had nothing to do with weapons.
It was “not an appropriate thing to do in school” but Hunter was being asked to spell his name out by letters rather than using the sign, Sheard told the New York Daily News.
“We want to do what is best for everystudent in our district, and we care more about that than everything else,” he said. “We are working with the parents to find the best solution we can.”
Hunter”sparents have set up a Facebook group for support and said that lawyers from the National Association of the Deaf could become involved to make sure their son can keep his name.
Howard Rosenblum, CEO of the association, told the Huffington Post it would be help the Spanjers with legal action if necessary.
Outrage: Hunter”s father Brian, left, and grandmother Janet Logue, right, were shocked by the decision
Innocence: Supporters of the family added the sign will hardly encourage the boy to bring a gun to school
“A name sign is the equivalent of a person”s name, and to prohibit a name sign is to prohibit a person”s name,” he said.
Hundreds of people have flocked to the family”s Facebook group to voice their support and lambast the school district for its decision.
“We started this cause page to raise awareness of Grand Island Public Schools singling out of this little boy and attempts to try to change his name,” the family wrote on the page.
“I never realised that there were people who could be so ignorant about sign language and to treat a young child like that is unspeakable,” one commenter, Tracie Speed Setzer, responded.
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