Clarke School sends checks to Deaf survivors of abuse


Kim Rock, a former student at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, Massachusetts, told “The Daily Moth” that she received a letter from the Clarke School Board of Trustees with an apology and a check for her experiences of physical abuse. She said about 15 other alumni also got letters and checks two weeks ago.

The school hired a law firm to do an independent investigation on physical and sexual abuses during the 1950’s to the 1970’s and completed a report last year. Lawyers then reached out to alumni in later years, including Rock.


The lawyers reached out to us and asked us if we’ve suffered physical and sexual abuse. Some of us said yes.

 We filled out a form and I did as well then I sent the form back.

I don’t know how many people did, but those who filled out the form received a check.

There was no court proceedings or any trials since the lawyer said that what we said is considered valid proof.

 Maybe it’s to shut us up or they recognized us. I don’t know, but it was related to only sexual and physical abuse.


Did you…


It wasn’t focused on language deprivation.


Understood… these are separate things.

 Did you have to sign a nondisclosure agreement to not discuss this? Were there terms listed before you could receive the money?


There was nothing in the letter. The lawyer just told me they recognized that I was abused and apologized. That was it. And sent a check.

[Text: “… the Clarke Board… established a limited fund for those who were abused.”

“We, on behalf of the Board, sincerely apologize for any abuse you suffered while at Clarke.”

Mary Ellen Nevins and Theodore Mason]


How did you feel getting that? What were your thoughts and reaction to that?


I had mixed feelings.

 First of all, the amount of money awarded to me was small, but I was satisfied.

 I thought there should have been more, but then again, I thought it was fair for based on my personal experiences with physical abuse.

 When it comes to language deprivation, I consider that (abuse) with long term effects.

Physical abuse causes short-term effects. 

I thought that amount was fitting for me.

 Language deprivation has long term effects.

 I could have lived differently.

 Why? I went to college with no idea of what I wanted.

 Because people tried too hard to “fix me”.

 I felt that I had to do what others expected of me.

 I hadn’t had the chance to figure out who I was.

 I was chasing after other people’s goals for me.

 After years and years of language deprivation, I finally figured out my identity in my 40s.

 When it came to having goals, a career and sense of individuality; it was too late.

 I feel that language deprivation was more harmful more than the physical abuse.  

Alex: Thank you for sharing, Rock. She also explained that one alumni sent back a check because the individual felt there should be three checks, one for each dorm the student was abused in. One check for each.

There is a detailed news article about the investigation and the abuses in the “Daily Hampshire Gazette.” I did a summary of those articles in a news report a few months ago. Links are in the transcript.