Wilson students plead to keep blind and deaf school open
Posted September 22, 2011
Updated September 25, 2011
WILSON, N.C. — 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.