After a 12-year-old hearing-impaired girl was threatened with suspension from school for using sign language on the bus, a New Jersey school district has reversed its position.
Danica Lesko was told by her school principal that her use of sign language was "disruptive." After the story became public and school district officials kept receiving calls and emails criticizing their decision, they decided that Lesko would not be barred from using sign language on the bus as long as she obeys all the district's safety rules, ABC News reported.
"The district's policy and the principal's intention is not to ban signing," said Superintendent Lois Capabianco. "Everyone needs to know that signing is allowed on the bus."
Capabianco did not want to elaborate because of active and potential litigation, but she did say that Lesko’s parents have been sent a letter that clarifies the policy.
Before this latest resolution, it seemed like the district might uphold its policy.
“The Board is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to all students with disabilities and is satisfied that there has been no violation of that policy in this case," the district said in a previous statement. "The Board is also committed to assuring the safety of all students who travel on District buses and will continue to take appropriate steps to accomplish that goal.”
At the time, Danica’s mother, Mary Ann Lesko, had this to say: “She has a hearing problem, and now she’s being punished for using sign language. It’s absurd.”