Speech to Text for Changes to deaf program anger parents

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show up. this letter came as a shock to parents of this program. it pulls deaf students from around the rogue valley and puts them together in central point. that’s the way it’s been done for 40 years. an sou professor is no stranger to the program. he tells me splitting those students up would be devastating. “learning asl is amazing.” its fair to call steve wasserman an expert in all things deaf, hard of hearing, and american sign language. “it is a very small community, but it’s still there, it’s still strong.” he knows the program for deaf and hard of hearing well. and he’s not happy with the talk of splitting up the already small group. “what they don’t realize is it’s going to be devastating for the deaf children.” the letter from the district says this coming school year – deaf students who live in medford will stay in medford to get their education. it says if a student is transitioning between schools – like from elementary to middle school – they will move to medford. but if a child isn’t moving from school to school – they taking that small group of kids and splitting it apart.” mike neilitz is upset and frustrated. his daughter is a kindergartener in the program. he says it’s hard enough for her to make personal connections. splitting up the group means less friends for her and less people she can communicate with. he’s not alone. lauren white wants answers too. “it doesn’t make sense.” her son bower is a kindergartener with neilitz’s daughter. “he only has 9 people who speak his language.” both parents tell me many others want to know why they weren’t involved in a decision this big. “it’s been a top down process, the school district has said here’s what’s best for you kids, we know what’s best we will tell you what’s best for you child.” he says parents have asked multiple times for meetings and communication, but that hasn’t happened. wasserman says it’s important to keep in mind – deaf people have a history of horrible oppression. “we have hearing people that have been telling deaf people what is good for them.’ he says just like the situation with the medford school district – hearing people should be coming to deaf people with the question – “what is the best thing?” those parents tell me they want the district to wait a year before making any changes. more importantly – they want to be directly involved in those decisions. the district tells me regional special education directors talked about the issue at a meeting today. the district plans on sending out a letter to parents tomorrow to work toward better communication about any changes that are made. reporting live in medford, emma balkenbush, newswatch 12.