Dude – UPDATE: Resolved last year
posted at 12:06 pm on June 2, 2013 by Guy Benson
Hunter Spanjer says his name with a certain special hand gesture, but at just three and a half years old, he may have to change it. “He’s deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy,” explained Hunter’s father, Brian Spanjer. Grand Island’s “Weapons in Schools” Board Policy 8470 forbids “any instrument…that looks like a weapon,” But a three year-old’s hands? “Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous. This is not threatening in any way,” said Hunter’s grandmother Janet Logue. “It’s a symbol. It’s an actual sign, a registered sign, through S.E.E.,” Brian Spanjer said. S.E.E. stands for Signing Exact English, Hunter’s sign language. Hunter’s name gesture is modified with crossed-fingers to show it is uniquely his own. “We are working with the parents to come to the best solution we can for the child,” said Jack Sheard, Grand Island Public Schools spokesperson. That’s just about all GIPS officials will say for now. Meantime, Hunter’s parents say that by Monday, lawyers from the National Association of the Deaf are likely to weigh in for Hunter’s right to sign his own name. Despite whatever rules and regulations may exist, some Grand Islanders we spoke with said they don’t think it’s right to make a three year-old change the way he says his name. “It’s his name. It’s not like he’s going to bring a gun to school when he’s three years old,” commented Dana Schwieger.
The district is working to devise a “solution” to the pressing crisis of how to make a deaf three-year-old’s signed name look less like a gun. For the children, of course.
UPDATE – Crisis resolved.
UPDATE II – I see now that this story was from last year, pre-Newtown. Might the school district need to revisit young Hunter’s violence-promoting sign language in light of new information?