Parents rally for deaf students after they say TPS failed to provide interpreters

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - A rally for deaf education happened at the Toledo Public School board meeting on Tuesday after parents say TPS failed to provide interpreters in the classroom.

Parents say it is an issue that has been going on for years but TPS says it has only been going on for a few weeks.

"I look at my daughter and I see her frustrated and say she doesn't understand and she comes to me frustrated and you know they should know the law," said TPS parent Warren Burford III.

The law states hearing impaired students must have access to an interpreter in the classroom.

There are 37 students in the district that are in the category of hearing impaired and deaf, 18 require interpreters.

Micia Burford is a typical teenage girl. The only thing that sets her apart from the majority of students is that she is hearing impaired.

Tuesday Micia begged the TPS board to get more interpreters in the classroom.

"I'm behind with a lot of my work and I feel like I am not catching everything, it makes me feel stupid," said Micia.

She says there is only on interpreter in her school for 16 deaf students.

"After 1:30 for me I feel that it is unfair, I don't have an interpreter," said Micia. "I should nine to 1:30, I have an interpreter but the other kids don't because I have the one interpreter."

TPS Chief of Staff Brian Murphy says there has been a lack of interpreters in the classroom because of the competitive compensation. He says they offer interpreters around $15 an hour while suburban districts offer as much as $45 an hour.

The deaf community says the lack of support services and no clear understanding of how to educate and work with deaf and hard of hearing children has lead to deaf students graduating from TPS with a fourth grade reading level.

"It's an obligation that we have as a district  and we're working hard to make sure we're in compliance and we are willing to provide any kind of type of services to those students that have missed some time as well," said Murphy.

School officials say for the last two weeks they have been working to fill three open positions. They say Tuesday the third was filled and will start on October 1. District leaders say they will not be hiring any more interpreters.

Follow Toledo News Now:  

Copyright 2014 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.