Nebraska school district wants deaf child to change how he signs his name

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 9:00 EDT
google plus icon
Hunter Spanjer screenshot 082912
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

A deaf Nebraska boy was in the middle of a dispute between his school and his parents after the school threatened to make him change the way he signs his name.

According to KOLN-TV, 3-year-old Hunter Spanjer had been asked to make the change because his local school district, Grand Island Public Schools, allegedly thought his crossing his index and middle fingers while moving his hand up and down broke a rule against “anything that looks like a weapon.”

Hunter’s family said that the sign is registered through the Signing Exact English (SEE) language system. His grandmother, Janet Logue, told NBC News he has been using it since he was 6 months old.

After reportedly getting hundreds of angry phone calls and emails following initial reports of the controversy surrounding Hunter, though, the district issued a statement Tuesday suggesting the problem boiled down to an issue regarding language standards.

“The sign language techniques taught in the school district are consistent with the standards of the Nebraska Department of Education and ASL [American Sign Language],” the statement said. “Grand Island Public Schools is not requiring any current student with a hearing impairment to change his or her sign language name.”

KOLN’s story on the debate regarding Hunter’s sign language, aired Tuesday night, can be seen below.

Update 9:25 am EST: The headline was corrected.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.