Friday, March 05, 2010

Simpson: Closing schools for the deaf can add new costs

Simpson: Closing schools for the deaf can add new costs

Morganton, NC - As past teacher and administrator at the Morganton school I would like to discuss the role of schools for the deaf as related to federal laws and placement options, especially school assignments between local programs and those of schools for for the deaf.

There are five federal placement options starting with the top placement, or "the least restrictive environment," down to the bottom placement or "the most restrictive environment." The top placement refers to placement in programs within a local public school. The most restrictive refers to placement in an institutional setting, such as a school for the deaf.

Parents need to know that when a school for the deaf is closed all current students need to be reassigned again. Parents can insist that their child be assigned to a school for the deaf in some other state. The fact is that federal laws cannot be terminated by a state.

The Tennessee School for the Deaf, the South Carolina School for the Deaf or the Virginia School for the Deaf would be appropriate locations if North Carolina closed its schools for the deaf. However, out-of-state placement has certain costs. How much for tuition? Dormitory fees? How much for transportation that would be best served by air transportation bringing the children home every weekend? Nebraska and California have done this. Can North Carolina do the same?

Let North Carolina keep its own people in the very places where they can best be served — its own schools for the deaf.