Woman Tries to Send Her Deaf Daughter to a School That Won't Hire an Interpreter
How far would you go to give your child the best education in the world? Would you keep trying, or would you give up? These were the choices that Ana had when the time came to send her deaf daughter to school.
At 39 years with three kids of her own, Ana regarded herself as somewhat of a seasoned parent. Her oldest child was a senior in high school, with the other two following closely behind.
Once it dawned on her that soon all of her kids will be out of the nest, she and her husband, Lamar, decided to expand their family and adopt a three-year-old baby girl named Journey.
The moment Ana saw Journey, she fell in love with her tiny face and golden brown hair, promising to give this little girl all her love, just as she did with her own kids.
Journey, a cheerful kid with a beaming smile, brightened their home every day, but as she started to get older, Ana noticed that she wasn't as responsive as she should be. This led the couple to get her checked out by a doctor.
It was determined that Journey was deaf, something the adoption agency neglected to mention. It didn't matter, though; the couple was willing to adjust to life with her and sought to teach her sign language.
Over the next three years, Journey learned to communicate via American Sign Language (ASL), attending play dates with other kids and expressing herself well.
Once Journey was six-years-old, the couple decided it was time to send her to school and picked Arundel School, where all their kids were attending. What should have been an easy enrollment became a fight against discrimination.
After passing the assessment test, the private school accepted Journey's application with one caveat; they would not hire an interpreter on the basis that there was already a deaf school in the county.
Ana was enraged. The deaf school was five hours away, making it impossible for a daily drive, and the school only taught speech and no sign language.
Besides the deaf school, the private school principal also suggested a local public school. "Never," Ana thought to herself. Her oldest son had briefly attended there, and she knew from experience how awful the school was.
While Lamar had already yielded, Ana was determined and kept emailing the school to change their decision. She needed Journey to attend that school because of the better opportunities available.
After weeks of back and forth, Ana finally decided to approach her brother-in-law, Keith, a disabilities lawyer specializing in wheelchair accessibility. Despite Keith and Lamar's strained relationship, he agreed to take the case.
To this day, Ana has no idea what Keith said to the school. All she knows is there was mention of discrimination and the private school's obligations, and the next thing she knew, Journey had been accepted in the school.
Not only did Arundel School agree to pay an interpreter for Journey, but they also extended a full scholarship and allowed the family to choose which teacher they wanted for their daughter.
When Ana heard the news, she was relieved and entirely grateful to Keith, who brushed it off as if it was just another day in the life of a lawyer. Ana and Lamar knew they couldn't have done it without him.
At the beginning of the semester, Journey started attending Arundel School, where her teacher teaches in a hybrid of spoken language and ASL. Everyday, Journey talks about how lovely her teacher is and how much she loves school.
This is just one story proving a mother's determination to give her child the best education. Here is another story of a mom who refused to use her daughter's college fund to pay for her step-son's rehab.