Hawai’i School for the Deaf and Blind wants their deaf principal back

[Transcript] On August 1st, the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) decided to replace Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind’s (HSDB) deaf principal of 3 three years, Dr. Angel Ramos, with a hearing principal that the HSDB community says has no experience or background in Deaf Education.

In Hawai’i, being a principal is equivalent to being a superintendent. The HSDB community is speaking out to get their deaf principal back.

Dr. Ramos has over 30 years of experience in the field of Deaf Education with 14 years of experience of being a principal/superintendent. He was the first Deaf Hispanic/Latino person to receive a doctorate from Gallaudet University and the second Deaf Hispanic/Latino person to receive a PhD in this country as Dr. Robert Davila was the first. His first job was a NYC taxi driver and later became a superintendent. He is very active in the Deaf community and he published a book.

The Daily Moth reached out to the leaders of a group that prefer to call themselves Nā Kiaʻi o ke Kula Kuli which means “protectors of the deaf school” to explain what is going on.



We work at Hawaii School for the Deaf (HSDB) where it happened on August 1st. Our deaf principal Dr. Angel Ramos was forcibly reassigned.


Reassigned to where? At a hearing school. Right now, our principal at HSDB is a hearing person who does not sign. This person’s background in deaf education is severely lacking. How does this person communicate as a hearing principal? With ASL interpreters all day long. Not only that, with Angel reassigned, he also now requires an interpreter assigned to him all day as well. With both in consideration, we’re spending such a large amount of money towards funding these interpreters! My goodness.


When he came here, our programs have shown improvement over 3 years including the ASL, Robotics and many other programs. We’ve shown progress, but now all that work is gone! The staff here at HSDB are just feeling completely thrown off.


It’s not only that! There have been students who have come up to us asking, “Where’s Angel? Where’s Angel?” I’d be completely stumped and heartbroken. I decided to do something about this by setting up a protector movement. I’m not talking about a protest! It’s a protector movement and we have to do it for the sake of our deaf children’s future, am I right?!


Yep! So please support us!



We also got comments from HSDB students sharing how they felt about Dr. Ramos being replaced.

EVA, 7thgrade:

During the student’s first day at school, we saw that there was a different school principal! I was really disappointed, and I want to have him (Dr. Ramos) back!

ZACHARY, 12thgrade:

Yeah, and I know that there are plenty of us whose principal has been traditionally hearing. It’s always been the same story until finally we got a principal who is deaf! That’s so far out! Imagine a principal you could easily communicate and connect with each morning when we have the time to just chat! And now, we’re back to a hearing principal once again. What’s up with that?


Dr. Angel places an emphasis on the CARES philosophy: Communication, Aloha, Respect, Responsibility, Effort and Self-Control. It’s about family, ohana.


You know, I have 3 cousins, one of who is about 3 or 4 years old. Once the kid asked me, “Where’s Angel?” That was incredibly heartbreaking for me. This kid really looked up to Angel as a role model.


We want Angel back!


We reached out to HIDOE for their comments about this situation. The Communications Director, Lindsay Chambers, responded and said that HIDOE cannot share anything related with this. Chambers mentioned that HIDOE does recognize the unique supports needed at HSDB and will continue to give ongoing support.

Today the HIDOE will go to HSDB to talk to some teachers. The protest to have Dr. Ramos back starts today. It will continue until September 24th. There will be people flying in from Maui to be involved. September 24th is the final date for the decision on whether Dr. Ramos will return to HSDB or stay at the public school he is currently being placed at.

The group of protectors have developed a website called “HSDB Soar” that you can see various videos and updates. There is also a petition that over 1,500 people have already signed. Their goal is to reach 2,500.


You can find links to HSDB Soar and the petition in the transcript below.

Stay tuned for more updates.







Ramos’ book: https://www.amazon.com/Triumph-Spirit-Chronicle-Angel-Ramos/dp/0974143014


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Gallaudet University: [gallaudet.edu]

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