Make Sign Language a Foreign Language In Secondary Schools and Higher Education

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I believe that it is imperative that secondary schools and higher education institutions should offer sign language courses that count as foreign language credits. I have always wanted to learn ASL, but never had the courses available to me. I never realized how much of a problem it was that I wasn't offered ASL courses until I came to college in a deaf community. I have encountered more hard of hearing citizens who use ASL than I have people who speak French or German. So, why isn't sign language being offered to students like other languages are? Many people argue that sign language is not foreign language because English is still being communicated, but just in a manual representation. While this is true, the absence of sign language courses in our education is creating barrier between the hard of hearing and deaf and the hearing communities. The presence of sign language in education can ultimately show acceptance and unity of two very separated communities. When someone who speaks Spanish walks into a store there is most likely to be an employee who can communicate with them in their language. However, when someone who signs walks into a store, they are usually forced to write or type in order to communicate with the employees. I have seen this too many times and it is heartbreaking to watch someone not be able to communicate in their core language. Once schools accept sign language, it will stop seeming so different and "out of the norm" to us and two communities will finally be able to merge. 



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