Open Letter about Marlton School

May 17, 2018

[Video description: The video opens with California Manos del Corazón's logo. California Manos del Corazón's logo is in all caps. Manos is bolded black while Corazón is in red. To the left of California Manos del Corazón, a hand is holding a full heart. The hand is outlined in black with brown shading; the heart is outlined in black with red shading. The video fades to the background while a circle appears outward. A brown-skinned man in black polo shirt sitting against a white wall in the background. The video closes with California Manos del Corazón's logo.]

Transcript:

 

California Manos del Corazón submits its letter expressing its concerns at the evolving state of Marlton Day School for the Deaf. California Manos del Corazón values and promotes both language access and communication access for all Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened (DDBDDHHLD) individuals. California Manos del Corazón strives to ensure all Latinx families and their Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing children have equal and full participation in every activity in their lives. Without equal language access or communication access, Latinx families and their Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing children are systematically denied their right to be involved in their education.

 

California Manos del Corazón’s mission is TOGETHER we Connect, Empower, Decolonize, all in SOLIDARITY. As a state organization, we Connect with Latinx Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing students as language models and cultural models, we support and encourage the full and equal inclusion of necessary academic skills and life skills so they may Empower themselves as each student learn to navigate in a hearing/spoken English society with knowledge and skills. We Decolonize together with education and information on how the educational institution and society operate often in contradictory approaches and pedagogy. Together we learn how to advocate and promote Latinx Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing children’s rights to equal education, language access, communication access, and culture access. We stand in SOLIDARITY by uniting and working together.  

 

It is essential that all Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing students are educated in environments rich with language models, equal access to education, peers, and staff as well as other essential factors. The educational system has moved towards a more restrictive environment for Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled and Hard of Hearing students as they are placed in inappropriate large size classrooms, at schools with minimal access to qualified school staff outside the Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing classrooms, receive minimal or non-existent visual access within the school environment, and are unable to participate equally in the overall school environment (non-signing staff and administration). Language access and communication access is equated with a show of respect as well as honoring their individual and collective importance. 

 

Latinx Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing students currently do not receive the requisite investment from the current administration. The majority of LAUSD’s administrators making decisions for this student population is comprised of hearing individuals who do not know American Sign Language, who are incognizant of Deaf Culture, who do not know Deaf Education, who have no training or experience in teaching Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled and Hard of Hearing students, or have any cultural ties with the Deaf community. Finally, the administration of the school does not reflect the cultural composition of the Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing students at Marlton School.

 

This most restrictive environment for each of these students results in an ineffective and harmful educational setting that perpetuates the vicious cycle of failure that every Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing student has experienced.

 

California Manos del Corazón is in agreement with Marlton’s demands along with our requests:

1- Immediate Removal of Administration from LAUSD’s Day School of the Deaf

2- Hire trained administrators who have a background in Deaf/Hard of Hearing teaching and pedagogy.

3- Redefine the school environment to establish full visual access to all of the school’s activities.

4- Offer a public apology to all Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing students and staff who have endured the hostile environment.

5- Formation of an oversight committee representative: Deaf people of Color and Deaf at least 51%

6- Formation of a Deaf Education Department separate from the Special Education Department with qualified administrators experts in Deaf Education.

7- Examine LAUSD Placement procedures and Policy on Deaf Education and Allocation of Resources

 

California Manos del Corazón works in conjunction with Council de Manos’ mission to end injustice. Only then can we as California Manos del Corazón demonstrate individual, organizational, and community accountability.

 

California Manos del Corazón’s tag line Connect. Empower. Decolonize. Solidarity. drives all things we do and believe. With this, we the board of California Manos del Corazón offers its letter of support for all Latinx families and their Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of Hearing children, staff and community stakeholders.

 

California Manos del Corazón recognizes the value and importance of Marlton Day School for the Deaf and all other Deaf programs under LAUSD and wishes for its continued success as well as all Latinx Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, and Hard of hearing students. California Manos del Corazón is available as a community partner to work together.

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