Activists Fight for Deaf School in Brattleboro

In Brattleboro, a 110-year-old school for deaf people closed this year. Deaf activists and their supporters are organizing to get the school, which had been funded by the state, re-opened. They recently held a rally at the state capitol in Montpelier. More than 300 people were at the rally.

Tawny Holmes is a lawyer at the National Association of the Deaf She was at the rally. Holmes, who is deaf, said in an e-mail to the Valley Post, "The Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VCDHH) including the Austine School were the central point of a delicate ecosystem serving all deaf and hard of hearing individuals – children and adults – in Vermont. The closure of VCDHH without replacement services is devastating, and we ask legislators in the State of Vermont to assist in finding ways to continue these critical services. These services are absolutely essential to the independence and empowerment of deaf and hard of hearing individuals to become complete tax-paying citizens of the state."

One of the speakers at the rally was Bill Hudson. He graduated from the Austine School in 1976. Now he's director of a Vermont state agency, Vocational Rehabilitation for the Deaf. Hudson said that re-opening the school could save the state money because it prevents the need for vocational rehabilitation for deaf people who graduate from regular schools and who aren't as well prepared for jobs.

These photos show the September 27 rally. The first photo shows Holmes and Nicholas LaLanne of Brattleboro. He is a sign language instructor. photos by the National Association of the Deaf


School for the Deaf

This school seems to meet a real need.
How sad if it closes. Good luck to the activists.

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