Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Letter from Gallaudet Parent

My daughter, aged 29, is a 2nd year student at Gallaudet. Before commenting on the situation at hand, I wanted to do some research and read some of the letters and comments. Based on all the information I have read, I give my full support to the students, faculty and staff who are behind this protest.

My daughter grew up in a hearing family where everyone signed. She is proud of who she is and her Deaf Culture. Ever since she was young, she strived to do her best to “keep up” with her hearing peers. She mainstreamed into the public school system in 8th grade and excelled in both middle school and high school. That did not mean, however, that she lost touch with who she was as a Deaf person.

She made a decision over a year ago that, if she wanted to get ahead in society and become financially stable, she would return to school to get a Bachelor’s Degree. She has always been independent and done very well for herself. She did not want to become one of those who lived off the Government. She chose Gallaudet because it had been praised as an excellent institution for higher learning, especially amongst the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. However she feels that, under the current leadership, the quality of education is not quite what she had heard it was. This disappoints us both greatly. As my daughter states, “I am Deaf.. NOT stupid and we, as Deaf students, deserve the quality and level of education as our hearing peers and to have our education recognized in the career world.” Quite a profound statement.

I am concerned because I want her to be confident and to graduate with the same knowledge and experience as everyone else so as to acquire employment that would enable her to experience financial independence and happiness…just like everyone else with a degree.

Although I do not agree with all the methods the protestors are using in order to be “heard” or to stand up for what they believe in, I fully understand the frustration they must feel and am in 100% agreement with them voicing their opinion and standing up for what they believe in. Since it’s the students who in fact keep the school going monetarily, they should have rights -- the most important of which, being heard.

I hope there can be a resolution to this matter soon so the students, especially those who are not part of this, can get on with their education. So much valuable time has already been lost. At this point I believe Fernandez is “holding her ground” out of spite – not concern for the students, faculty or staff.

Sincerely,

A Concerned Parent