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Deaf community demanding answers from CCISD

Posted: 5:30 PM, Aug 13, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-14 00:25:05-04

CORPUS CHRISTI – An emergency town hall meeting was called this weekend at the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center regarding the use of interpreters for hearing impaired teachers employed by CCISD.

Now a large group of outraged members of the deaf community are taking their concerns to the school board.

“Our teachers who are deaf will not have interpreters to help us teach our children,” Marissa Ponce said.

Per the Americans with Disabilities Act, the district is required to provide interpreters for deaf and hard of hearing students. But what about accommodations offered for teachers?

Local union representatives said in the past hearing-impaired teachers have utilized the interpreters provided for students in their classrooms, but Nancy Vera of the Corpus Christi American Federation of Teachers said CCISD is trying to put a stop to that.

“There are issues regarding state and federal law, school board policy, and the culture of how we treat our deaf and hard of hearing community,” Nancy Vera said.

Marisa Ponce is a parent who said these changes will trickle down and directly affect CCISD students who communicate using American Sign Language.

“We’re trying to get it situated two weeks before school, and we have so many kids from the surrounding areas that get bused to Corpus for this program,” Ponce said.

Kimberly Patella of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center said she hopes the district will realize the imperative need for one-on-one interpreters for hearing impaired instructors.

“We’re just really focusing on making sure that accessibility to deaf employment is of the utmost importance in our local community,” Patella said.

KRIS 6 News reached out to CCISD and a spokesperson said the district cannot comment on personnel matters.