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Stop discriminating against Deaf students by granting CART-live captioning

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My name is Delanie Harrington. I am a 17 year old hard of hearing student mainstreamed in the Poway Unified School District and will be going into my senior year.


I, under the legal supervision of my parents, have been fighting for my rights in a legal lawsuit against the district for several years. The case outlines their refusal to assist me, as well as other students, with a technology called CART. CART is a real time captioning service in which a transcriber sits in the back of the classroom typing all that is said to be read on a screen by the student for which the service is needed. I have used closed captioning, also known as subtitles, while watching TV and movies all my life, and have come to realize how much information I simply miss in a classroom, a much more distracting environment than my home living room. When I took American Sign Language I and II at Palomar College, CART was easily requested and provided. An obviously much more visual course, I found it to be extremely useful and assistive.


I was recently informed that I won the Federal appeal against PUSD, yet because the district is choosing to fight back, yet again, it is highly unlikely for me to receive CART before I graduate because of a loophole in the judge's declaration.


Budget cuts are affecting our schools, and I’m not sure where the heart is in our district that more money is being used to fight in the several court cases against special needs students, instead of using it to help educate them. Forgive me if I am wrong, but isn’t the point of school and Special Education to teach, and help learn? Why then am I being deprived of this right? I have always fought to keep my grades up, to exceed the normality of the modern classroom and it tires me. I work so much harder than the average student just to hear and understand the conversation. By the time I get home, or even to 5th period, I am exhausted with headaches and have trouble focusing on assignments.


The American Disabilities Act clearly states “…access to the general curriculum to meet the challenging expectations established for all children” is required. In other words, I and every other student with an obstacle are entitled to accommodations necessary to achieve as much education as any other student.
IEP’s should assist others and myself in attaining these services. But what is an IEP? My personal IEP “team” consists of a Program Specialist, an uncertified speech therapist, a DHH Itinerant, an RSP, a district representative, my self, and my parents. All of which mentioned work for the same department, and choose regularly to team up against my parents and I. We are limited voices with no chances of winning a fight for rights because of a severe outnumbering. While we have a chance to speak, we have no authority nor real say in changes or what happens to my education. Shouldn’t I, the student, have at least a chance in assistance?


Still, restrain from making a biased assumption of these people by reading this article. Some of these teachers, or whatever their title, district employees are good people. They are trying to do the right thing. However, it is much more difficult to do so with your job on the line and a superior representative interrupting your every supportive statement. While it is understandable, it is not justified.


The excuse of the district is that I don’t need help. That, because I get A’s and B’s, it is “satisfactory”. Not for me. I among the average student plan to attend college, and “satisfactory” is not enough for colleges I plan to apply to. I get A’s in most of my classes because I do the homework and credit necessary to achieve so, but overall, my grades are not an accurate representation for understanding. My test scores in math for the past year have consisted of C’s, D’s, and F’s. I was able to bring my grade in the class up to a B with the assistance of one-on-one tutoring with my teacher twice a week. I would think tests and evaluations show a more precise reading for my understanding than a measure of my academic efforts.


Please sign my petition so that I can go into my senior year, consisting of 3 AP classes, with some support. Being able to receive these services will open the door for more deaf and hard of hearing students to receive support much easier.
Thank you.



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