Gallaudet School for the Deaf closing after 83 years

7:07 PM, Jun 3, 2010   |    comments
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By Sharon Stevens, Education Reporter

KSDK -- It's been part of the St. Louis public school system for 83 years; now the Gallaudet School for the Deaf is closing.

It's one of six city schools to be shuttered as the district tries to save money. After more than 80 years the Gallaudet School for the Deaf is being shuttered and its 69 students will be attending other schools.

There were lots of "goodbyes," "good lucks" and tears. Assistant principal Carrie McDaniel admits it was a tough day.

Joe Hall, 13, said he'll miss Gallaudet. Hall liked his teachers, his principal and his friends.

And as McDaniel packed up her office, she talked about what the school means to her. McDaniel has been using sign language to communicate with her mother and father, both of whom are deaf, since she was a little girl.

"I've always been a big advocate for the hearing impaired," McDaniel said. "So to come into a place where I can make a difference in children's lives and inform parents of their rights was what I was born to do."

St. Louis public school officials say this is not just about dollars and cents, but about a better future for children who attended this school.

Special education chief Dr. Chip Jones said it's in the best interest of the children to provide a mainstream education, in a traditional school, for Gallaudet students.

There will be a brief summer school program at Gallaudet before it's closed for good. Most of the students, which include some autistic children, will attend either McKinley, Ames or Gateway next fall.

The Gallaudet school is part of a nationwide group of schools for deaf or hearing impaired students, which includes Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.



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