Report finds systemic problems at N.C. school for deaf
The eight-page report released Monday also identified a hostile work environment, inconsistent policies and procedures and a lack of training at the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton.Posted — Updated
"Challenges tend to be people who are not deaf who don't necessarily understand how a deaf person can function," she said.
"I was horrified and appalled," she says.
Issued by Disability Rights North Carolina, the report listed several cases of excessive abuse, including one in which a student's arms and hands were restrained while the student was held face-down.
Withers says that's comparable to putting tape on the mouth of a child who can hear and putting a bag over his or her head because hearing-impaired students use their hands to communicate.
Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler said the school's director, Janet McDaniel, was dismissed and that other changes are likely as a result of the findings of an investigation into the policies, procedures and practices of the school.
"It was very revealing, I think, surprising (that) the issues had gone on as long as they had," Cansler said. "I do feel good about the report."
The state report offered a series of six recommendations to restore the school's effectiveness and performance. They include adequately addressing the needs and requirements of the student population, more familial involvement, more staff training and better coordination with other school resources.
Vicki Smith, executive director of Disability Rights North Carolina, said she would have liked to have seen more specifics about how the state plans to change the school's culture.
She said she is concerned that current budget cuts will prevent any true change in the school
Meanwhile, Withers, who was not involved in the report or the initial investigation that led to it, says she is supportive and satisfied with the department's new direction.
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