3-Year-Old Deaf Boy Mandated by Preschool to Change His “Violent” Sign Name
A 3-year-old-deaf boy from Nebraska has been ordered to change the way he signs his name, as the school district feels that the hand signal resembles a dangerous weapon.
Preschooler Hunter Spanjer uses standard sign language to communicate. As part of that, he waves his fingers in a specific sign to refer to himself. Unfortunately, school policy states that no one should “knowingly and voluntarily possess, handle, transmit or use any instrument in school, on school grounds or at school functions that is a firearm, weapon, or looks like a weapon.”
And with this rationale, the school is banning Hunter’s sign name, which they believe is similar to a shooting gun.
“Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous,” Hunter’s grandmother Janet Logue explained to NCN. “This is not threatening in any way.”
Hunter has been using the same sign since he was 6-months-old. The sign combines the standard symbols for H and R, and he then waves his fingers as a personal touch.
When news broke of the school’s decision, people were outraged on Hunter’s behalf, calling the school’s action discriminatory and absurd.
“A name sign is the equivalent of a person’s name, and to prohibit a name sign is to prohibit a person’s name,” Howard Rosenblum, CEO of the National Association of the Deaf wrote, adding that the organization is prepared to provide any legal support.
“I am shocked this is an issue,” Hunter’s dad Brian Spanjer said. “As a parent you never think anyone would take issue with your child’s name. When someone is named Christian, people don’t automatically go to religion.”
“I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to any other deaf child or special needs child,” he also added.
A Facebook page, “Let this Deaf Child Keep His Name Sign,” has been created in honor of Hunter’s sign name, and has gained over 5,000 likes.
With the rise of school shootings and gun-related violence, it’s understandable how schools and organizations have been sensitive to any potential sparks of violence. In this case though, is a sign name truly a danger?