Wilson students plead to keep blind and deaf school open

Posted September 22, 2011
Updated September 25, 2011

—  In regular school, Yudibel Gonzalez said she felt alone. The 13-year-old deaf student said she couldn’t understand her teachers.

“I was not happy,” she said speaking through an interpreter on Thursday. “At lunch, there were no friends to talk with me.”

Then, Gonzalez found the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf in Wilson.

“I had so much fun with friends,” she said.

Now, the school along with the other two state schools for the deaf and blind are in danger of closing next year due to state budget cuts. The three schools educate a total of about 220 students.

Gonzalez and other students pleaded with officials from the state Department of Public Instruction on Thursday during a public hearing at Barton College in Wilson.

Officials were at the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton earlier this week.

A third meeting is planned Wednesday at the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 W. Hargett St. in Raleigh – the same city the Governor Morehead School for the Blind is located.

Gary Farmer worked at the school in Wilson for years.

“It is the epicenter of their lives. It is where they are comfortable,” Farmer said.

Now, he is on the committee that will decide which school is closed.

“This process makes me sick,” he said. “This is a tough decision.”

By January, a recommendation will be made on what school should be closed.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • familyfour Sep 28, 2011

    I am blown away. Our government literally thrives on helping those who cannot or are not able to conform in the standard settings provided for the mass public.

    I, personally, see many, many places that could funding could be siphoned the pockets of legislators....

    How horrid to go to the weakest of all....handicapped children. Really? This is a new low, even for our government.

  • mmtlash Sep 23, 2011

    I understand they are trying to cut back but taking money from deaf and blind children....come on that's low

  • Made In USA Sep 23, 2011

    Education lottery money replaced, not supplement, school funding (as intended when Easley was in office). Go figure.

  • wattsun Sep 23, 2011

    I am sure there are MANY more ares of the state budget the could be audited for waste and then cut before these 2 schools are closed.
    Good point by other poster.. Where is the education lottery money come into play here?

  • gallbury Sep 23, 2011

    It is absolutely disgusting and disgraceful that with the amount of money this state (the Governor and Legislative Body) squanders on frivolities, as well as personal luxuries at the taxpayers expense, that this is even being considered. These schools have, and will continue, to provide an essential service for handicapped people who have nowhere else to turn. Going to an such extreme measure, such as this, just goes to show the arrogant indifference of our politicians to people of special needs. They should be ashamed of themselves!!!!! Cut out something else; campaign flights would be a good start.

  • Made In USA Sep 23, 2011

    Just for one week, I would like to see the state and local govs sponsor what could be called "Discount Tax Week", and see if that would not in fact bring in more tax revenues. I think this would give the economy a boost, encouraging people to purchase things they are currently holding off on buying.

    We need a economy fix, and you can do your part by limiting your purchases to American-made products. That alone would stimulate the economy far more than anything else.

  • tagboard7 Sep 23, 2011

    Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which covers public entities like government bodies and business like public schools is responsible for making all public schools accessible to people with hearing disabilities so they don't have to go to costly specialized education programs for the deaf. Its high time we make all public schools accessible to deaf people so we can eliminate the need for pricey deaf schools. Society needs to come to their common sense and parents need to start being their deaf children's advocates by making their nearest public schools accessible to deaf students. Don't forget the newer deaf generations are being raised with new technology that makes them readily interfaceble with their hearing peers and the costs of accommodating these are far less than the costs of accommodating the "Generation X" deafies for which these expensive schools are designed for. The new deaf generations can attend and succeed at the same schools as their hearing peers

  • Poleaux Sep 23, 2011

    First of all, those cuts didn’t need to be here. There is way too much bureaucratic deadwood that could be cut instead, but the government prefers to cut sections that provoke an emotional response from the public.

    Secondly, those kids need to learn to live in an able-bodied world and the sooner the better. As a deaf-blind person myself, I know from experience that life will be inconvenient and at times difficult for these kids. They shouldn’t expect a “normal” lifestyle and can compensate by channeling their energy into things they are capable of doing well. Socialization is going to have to be unconventional for them, they need to learn this early on.

    Don’t pity these kids, they will likely be fine and lead happy, fulfilling lives. The human spirit is highly resilient.

  • maz6123 Sep 23, 2011

    This is horrible. All the advances of the last few years wiped out. Horrible.

  • paulaspivey Sep 23, 2011

    My parents are graduates from NCSD and if my son looses any more of his hearing, he will be a future student. He is currently considered a Main Stream student and hates it. He feels he is outcasted because of his impairment.The school system in Harnett county does no good for his education as far as the IEP goes. The teachers are great but the hearing-impaired classes he is taking is teaching him NOTHING! They want him to be able to read lips only. He is not a candidate for any hearing aid devises, so can you please tell me how it is to help him by not learning ASL? At least NCSD lets all students feel like they are normal.Are you trying to take away from the deaf and blind students to give more to the hearing? If you would quit doing what you are doing in Wake county, (busing children from all areas to different schools) then how much money would you save? I have hearing children and they are by no means any better than deaf or blind children. They deserve the same chances!!