Family: Nebraska school says our deaf 3-year-old's sign-language gesture for his own name looks like 'weapons,' must change
A Nebraska school district wants a 3-year-old deaf boy to change the way he signs his name because they say the gesture makes his hands look like weapons, the boy's family claims.
The district, in Grand Island, about three hours west of Omaha, has a policy that forbids kids bringing to school "any instrument ... that looks like a weapon," local station KOLN reported.
According to the report, Hunter Spanjer signs his name by crossing his index finger and middle finger and then wagging his hands, which the school says is not appropriate.
"Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous. This is not threatening in any way," his grandmother, Janet Logue, told KOLN.
NCN via YouTube
Brian Spanjer demonstrates how his son Hunter signs his name.
"It's a symbol," his father, Brian Spanjer, added. "It's an actual sign, a registered sign, through S.E.E.," or Signing Exact English, a sign language system.
A school spokesman called the issue a "misunderstanding" and said it had nothing to do with guns or weapons.
The name gesture was "not an appropriate thing to do in school," and administrators were asking Hunter to spell his name out, letter-by-letter, instead of using the sign, spokesman Jack Sheard told the Daily News.
"We want to do what is best for every student in our district, and we care more about that than everything else," Sheard said. "We are working with the parents to find the best solution we can."
Locals think the school should leave the tyke alone.
"It's his name. It's not like he's going to bring a gun to school when he's 3-years old," Grand Islander Dana Schwieger fumed.