Deaf Student's Long Appeal now Heading To Federal Court
Deaf Student's Long Appeal now Heading To Federal Court EL High's TV show should be captioned, his family contends
By Jenna Cho Published on 2/4/2008
John Quatroche, a senior at East Lyme High School, has been trying to get the school to caption its informational television show.
East Lyme High School's student-produced Morning Show on Jan. 17 told of the girls' basketball team's latest win, the weather forecast, and a canceled ski trip.
As the school's top cross-country runner, John Quatroche is sometimes mentioned, too. But he might not realize it, because the show is televised and Quatroche was born deaf.
Quatroche, 18, has cochlear implants that bring his hearing up to about 70 percent if listening conditions are ideal. But processing sound from the television is tough, as is reading lips on the screen.
“I have a hard time understanding,” said Quatroche, a senior who communicates through speech, not sign language. His speech is difficult to understand, and he also has a learning disability that limits his reading comprehension to the fifth-grade level. “Like the jokes, when they move around.”
As it is, Quatroche understands only about 50 percent of the show. He wants more.
Quatroche has repeatedly asked the school for closed-captioning on the show so he can absorb its full content. But according to Quatroche and his mother, Mary Quatroche, the school has refused, and in December, John filed a lawsuit in federal court.
His mother said John first requested two “impartial due process hearings” under the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. The lawsuit, she said, was the only recourse for appealing attorneys' decisions not to conduct the hearings due to technicalities.
“All we really wanted was the lowest-level resolution,” she said. A law school student, she wrote her thesis on facilitating access for hearing-impaired students.
According to the lawsuit, the Morning Show, “is one of the primary ways the students receive information about what is going on at East Lyme High School.”
“He has been denied meaningful access to what is going on in and around his school. ... For over three years, his ability to participate meaningfully in this activity has been prevented by the lack of captioning,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit states that John's disabilities “make auditory-processing of significant quantities of information impossible without additional supports.”
John lives in Salem with his mother and spends every other weekend at his father's home in East Lyme. He has been receiving special education services from the town since he was 3, the lawsuit states.
John attends East Lyme High School because Salem does not have its own high school and sends its high-schoolers to East Lyme through a cooperative agreement between the two towns.
Defendants in the lawsuit are the East Lyme, Salem and state boards of education and the state Department of Education.
Paul Smotas and Donna Leake, superintendents of the East Lyme and Salem public schools, respectively, did not return multiple phone calls seeking comment. The chairmen of the two districts' school boards and Thomas Murphy, spokesman for the state Department of Education, all declined comment, saying they could not discuss pending litigation.
Mary Quatroche, who spent 10 years on the Salem school board before resigning two years ago, said she believed the Salem and East Lyme school districts' resistance to John's requests is likely due to disagreement over whose responsibility it is to provide the captioning service.
Salem pays East Lyme tuition to send its high school students there. Tuition varies depending on whether the Salem student needs regular or special education, she said. If East Lyme doesn't have the type of program that a Salem special education student needs, Salem foots the bill.
In John's case, Salem pays for John's tutor and captionist, who was hired for his regular classes. The captionist uses a software called “c-print” to type notes that John can read on a laptop.
The lawsuit cites a section of the Code of Federal Regulations that states that public agencies must “provide nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities in the manner necessary to afford children with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in those services and activities.”
John spends the majority of his school days with Judith Staub, a teacher of the hearing impaired. If he is with her when the Morning Show airs during the first five to 10 minutes of the second period, Staub will brief John on the contents of the show, the young man said.
If it airs during one of his classes, he'll get a summary of show from the captionist.
But for John and his family, the true issue is one of lack of equal access. John wants to be able to take in the information from the show as independently as a student without disabilities.
His mother said she understands that John's hearing and learning disabilities inevitably cause him to be isolated at times.
“I'm not saying it's all avoidable, because it's not,” she said. But if there are opportunities to make students like John feel more like a part of the school, the school should take them, she said.
“This has been an issue for four years,” she said. “And as (John) got older and got more involved with school, he got more and more frustrated by it.”
She said her family and John's attorney, Gordon Kirkman Jr. of Old Saybrook, have recommended captioning equipment that would cost $9,000 and utilize voice-recognition technology.
A student could be trained to operate the equipment — a reasonable suggestion, she contends, considering students already produce the Morning Show.
But John and his family's requests for captioning, at John's annual meetings on his specific educational needs, were continuously tabled, she said, and the school never provided an alternative option to captioning.
According to the lawsuit, captioning would not only provide John with access to information about school activities, it would also help with his reading skills.
“John receives a significant academic benefit from watching captioned video in terms of improved reading ability, increased vocabulary, and dramatically improved access to information,” the lawsuit reads.
His mother said the lawsuit is, to an extent, also about teaching John to advocate for his rights. She and her son both know a resolution is not likely before the end of the school year, when he is scheduled to graduate.
But if the school does eventually caption the Morning Show, the lawsuit will have helped other hearing-impaired students at the school, she said.
“I wouldn't want any other kid to feel more excluded than they have to,” she said.
Sighs! WHY?? WHY?? err Why aren't these CI deaf children using American Sign Language from a start? How dare you put those Deaf children into a isolation classroom? Hearing Aid and Cochlear Implant devices are full of it because Medical professional and parents said they are now hearing with CI. SCOFFS!. Thats a big lie as usual.
This CI deaf boy has nothing to do with his deafness that is Latened deaf itself [former hearing] that might or might not help them to hear and understand the spoken language alone without lipread or BI-BI language with CI/HA device.
Millions of us, Deaf people who wore HA or CI and had/ have a hard time to understand people s spoken language. What's the use to have those Devices for years and years for us? Don't you ever understand that we millions Deaf people can hear the sounds that doesn't mean anything to us that makes us miserable as usual, however it s not what you think that we understand everything you said in a spoken language. RME! Don't you get it that we are D E A F with or without devices?
It doesn't make any sense to me anymore.. Sighs! Parents have no respect for his own son who is deaf that needs to learn ASL from day one he was born.
He cannot understand you and People don't understand his orally speaking that has voice or no voices in it. What a nice barrier of communication he gets by his own parents, any schools, and Medical professionals!
That is very real for people who forces those Deaf children to be a SHADOW hearing that is when you messed up Deaf child s life as usual. Scoffs!
That is very real for having the barrier of communication with no ASL by those people with a huge negative audist attitude, who do not have any respect for Deaf children's best interest that is their rights to be served.
ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL organization of groups are on my two thumbs down forever. He misleads people for the wrong reason that is his own selfish and narrow-minded as usual. .
People believe everything what Medical professionals says about our Deafness that is out of order as far as I saw my own eyes all along. All lies about hearing devices that can make Deaf people to hear the spoken language that must end of crapola talks and their greedy money by their own fantastic myth dreams. People got fooled by them as usual.
Thanks! ** shaking my head with a very angrier disappointment ** Sweetmind
Unbelieveable note: Believe it or not! This early am, this comment hasn't posted it in their newspaper comments. Now you can see why Deaf people are so angry for having their Freedom of Speech to be oppressed or avoided to post Deaf comments by those people. Why do they have to avoid and hide our Deaf comments to any newspapers about any kind of Deaf issues? That is no Diversity as well. ** fed up with their full of it. **
"Light of Love" in Deaf Visual Languages of the Deaf community
I find this is really a huge mixed up messages to across all over the world by AUDISM people. Audism's rules makes it harder for Deaf children for nothing, so what s the point for us to prove you that we can or cannot speak with no voice or voice? Scoffs! SPEECH IMPAIRMENT that affects YOU as Deaf child or TEACHER who doesn't understand each other.. What is the heck going on?
First of all, Government closed a lot of Deaf schools for the past years and pushed Deaf children to have CI as they think it ll make a big difference for them to hear or understand with it. So gov't can save more taxpayer's monies. It's a biggest mistake for those people or parents who believe in AGB 's method or Medical professionals who doesn't tell you the truth all along for many years. It s never solved the more conflict issues that hasn't stopped yet. It gets worse and worse to waste all kind of money that is a real nonsense for those people who doesn't have any faiths in their Deaf children's true identity and intend to destroy their self esteem and their rights to be served all over again and again.
I am so tired of their making a big deal about the cart after all, d/Deaf children do not have their rights to be served without ASL. His mother doesn't know any better. Now she made a big scene about having a CART in the classrooms. What's that all about??? It doesn't make any sense since every d/Deaf child in any cities of any states, who go to Mainstream public schools. I don't think it s a good idea to get those CART for each d/Deaf child into the classrooms because it is way too expensive to buy many CARTs for each classrooms of many different levels of Grades in Elementary or High School. So whats wrong with your projector for every children to read that is much cheaper as well? Other things, mainstream public school have to pay two interpreters for each Deaf child while Deaf school provides everything for any d/Deaf children that saves a lot of money. Sighs! Deaf children are not allowed to be deaf at all so therefore you WASTE all kind of money that doesnt help them without ASL from a start.
Then go back to Deaf school that is so much cheaper for all Deaf children who will get their rights to be served at once. This topic makes me so angry, I just had to say something. We got no breaks after all the fighting for Deaf children's rights.
Hearing people think they know everything and won't listen to us. Why do they always have to control and too much conflict problems in our Deaf life? We have good hearts and minds as far as we are NO DUMMY. How dare people take our visual language away from us?? That is telling us that they don't understand what is A Real Communication really means to them. We are different from them. So What? Cant we just accept our deafness? Is that a problem for you? The reason is their attitudes, I grew up hating myself for being deaf, I was unable to let myself be "Deaf". It took a long time for me to realize that it is ok to be deaf.
Second of all, I referred to the term stupid sounds when it describes the noise of sounds. What I meant was all the noise pollution in the hallways, classrooms, and such, of the schools. How dare hearing people think that we, d/Deaf people, can hear everything with a device? That turns me right off. They cant fix our deafness. That's the way it is. Live with it and Deal with it if you mind that we are not the Latened deaf!
I believe in a two way street. I believe the children have the right to real communication that works with them well. ASL and English written with or without orally speaking which means that speak with a voice or no voice that an individual make their own choice. NOT THE PARENTS's choices. Let deaf children adapt on their own, naturally. That's positive of being deaf to feel in their own heart, not yours.
Bi Bi language is a very good choice for many learning disabilities that we might have but not know it. They are still young. there must be a reason they can't understand oral method only. Give the kids a break and give them their liberty and freedom of deaf identity. Thats why i put my quote in the past. If you don't understand my quote I ll tell you this quote "Pure, Simple, Natural, Honest Total Communication; loving bonds between Deaf and Hearing people in this diverse world." Quote, Fact of Sweetmind's Beliefs in Natural Method: ASL. It tells you that there is "two way street" for Hearing and d/Deaf people. This s about not just for Deaf children but it helps many hearing children to have a good attitude about our deafness that is all it matters. However, I m outspoken for any Deaf children's rights as long as I live.
Hearing people Can, Can, Can but they Can't seem to make a positive difference for Deaf children/people. Hearing people say that Deaf children/people Can't, Can't, Can't. But, we seem to be the only ones who are able to make that difference from our positive reinforcements. I must remind you, I am NOT referring to "ALL hearing people", just the ones who are prejudiced and discriminate(d) against us. They failed to accept us and our deafness completely from the day one to many years.
The last thing I want to say.. Don't expect deaf children to depend on materialistic things so much because they need human contact, eye contact, and physical contact. Person to person; not 3rd person. So that way Deaf children can express their own feelings from their heart without any conformity or force.
"Light of Love" in Deaf Visual Languages of the Deaf community