On April 5, organizers from Occupy Detroit and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) staged a protest outside the Detroit Day School for the Deaf, which the Emergency Financial Manager for Detroit Public Schools wants to shut down. But the school receives most of its funding from the federal government – very little comes from the city and the Detroit Public Schools.
Some say that the school – one of the oldest schools of its kind in the United States, founded in 1898 and specially designed for deaf students – shares valuable property with many parties interested in gaining control of it, including including Wayne State University. Others say it is ideological, with lawmakers wanting to “mainstream” deaf students because they feel they should not be given special schools. Advocates for the school and its students also believe that DPS has intentionally steered parents of deaf children away from attending in the school in an attempt to keep enrollment levels low to justify its closure.
One thing is for certain: if this school, the only full-communication access school for the deaf in Detroit, is forced to close, students who travel up to 50 miles away each day to attend will be shuttled off into mainstream public schools with little, if any, assistance to help them learn and navigate in a world designed for those who can hear.