Parents of deaf students sue San Antonio school district
Spectrum News reported that families of deaf students in San Antonio, Texas have filed a federal class action lawsuit against a school district, Northside Independent School District.
The lawsuit, filed on Monday, said NISD has failed to provide services to deaf students, excluded them from programs at NISD, and is discriminating against them.
The lawsuit said NISD is violating federal regulations and laws under the IDEA, ADA, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
The lawsuit said they are representing all deaf students in the district. It said NISD failed to provide IEPs by a “Certified Deaf Education Instructor” and failed to provide deaf students socialization services with other members fo the Deaf community.
The Daily Moth did a report about this in December. There were rallies at Braun Station Elementary School led by one of the parents in the lawsuit, Regina Johnson, who is hearing and has a deaf daughter.
She and a community activist, Mayda Garcia, told me through VRS interviews in December that there were negative changes in the school’s auditory impairment (AI) classrooms. She said deaf students used to be placed together and learned in ASL, but that school staff changed by discouraging ASL, promoted oralism, and separated deaf children from one other.
The lawsuit outlined the same complaints made in my previous report. Johnson said in the lawsuit that her daughter’s IEP requires her AI teacher to use ASL at all times and Visual Phonics, but that her daughter’s AI teacher prefers to orally communicate with her and that she and other deaf students are not socialized with other members of the Deaf community.
[Image of an excerpt of the lawsuit: “M.K. is a student at the School District. She is deaf/hearing impaired. As such, she is entitled to special education services pursuant to the IDEA. Her IEP requires her to receive an Auditory Impairment (AI) teacher that signs to her at all times. It also requires that M.K.’s AI teacher uses Visual Phonics with her. Instead, M.K. had an AI teacher that preferred to orally communicate with M.K. As a result, M.K. has less of a desire to communicate via sign language. M.K. Does not receive direct services from a Certified Deaf Education Instructor. In addition each student who is Deaf and Hearing Impaired should receive socialization services with other members of the Deaf community and does not.”]
Another parent said his teacher has refused to sign to him and refused to allow him to be with his deaf peers.
[Image of an excerpt of the lawsuit: “J.C. is a student at Stevenson Middle School at the School District. He is deaf. As such, he is entitled to special education services pursuant to the IDEA. According to his IEP, he is supposed to receive daily, in class sign language interpreting support and an AI teacher, but at time he goes without his AI teacher. J.C. Does not receive direct services from a Certified Deaf Education Instructor. In addition each student who is Deaf and Hearing Impaired should receive socialization services with other members of the Deaf community and does not.”]
Another parent said her child’s IEP requires interpreting services, but that NISD did not provide it.
The parents said the students’ education and grades have suffered. The lawsuit wants the NISD to make changes and to pay attorney’s fees.
One of the attorneys representing the families, Matthew Finch, told Spectrum News that most instructors for deaf students were uncertified, that his clients don’t want monetary damages but for an equal opportunity for education with certified instructors.
NISD did not provide Spectrum a comment as of two days ago, saying they need time to review the lawsuit.
Moth Report in December: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up5ZsFQpLMk