Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sex Abuse Lawsuit against Deaf School Settled

Update: A family suing the Scranton School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing because their "daughter had been repeatedly sexually assaulted by a classmate has settled in the middle of trial." In court papers the school argued "that it couldn’t be labeled negligent for what happened because there was no reason to suspect child abuse." Read the full story at here.
image by daveynin

Friday, February 23, 2018

Judge dismisses suit from ex-head of WV deaf, blind schools

The one-time head of the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind filed a lawsuit against the school for firing him and evicting him from his home on the school grounds. But a judge has dismissed the lawsuit filed by Martin Keller. Read the full story in the Charleston Gazette-Mail here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Lawyer: Sex Abuse Coverup at Deaf School

image by daveynin
A Pennsylvania jury was told today by an attorney that the Scranton School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children covered up sexual abuse among students. The school and the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf are being sued by the victim and her parents. Read the full story in the Times Tribune here.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Deaf Man Gets $175K Settlement

image from
Pearl Pearson will get $175,000 for the way he treated by Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers. They stopped Pearson in in Oklahoma City a couple of years ago, but because Pearson is deaf and didn't follow the troopers verbal commands, he wound up being beaten and seriously injured. The DA dropped the case, claiming it was too expensive to go to court. The troopers were cleared of wrongdoing. Fundraisers were set up to help Pearson and he filed a lawsuit. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol agreed to settle, saying doing so was not an admission of liability. The state claimed to just be trying to save money. The encounter was caught on dashboard camera:

Friday, February 16, 2018

Major Change to ADA Law passed by House

image from CSPAN video of vote on H.R. 620
The House has passed a bill making it more difficult to sue under ADA law. The vote was 225-192. The bill isn't law yet. It still has to get through the Senate and the signature of the President. The proposed law would require businesses to be given six months after being give written notice of non-complience before legal action could be taken. Advocacy groups say it shifts the burden to the person with a disability and away from businesses. The bill's future in the Senate is uncertain. Read more about it in The Hill here and Newsweek here. You can read the text of the bill and other information here.

Basketball in Buffalo

WKBW-TV in Buffalo takes a look at what the St. Mary's School for the Deaf basketball teams are doing for the school's students.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A new TV Show by and About Deaf People

Sundance TV’s streaming platform Sundance Now just debuted a new show called This Close . It stars Josh Feldman and Shoshannah Stern and is about two deaf best friends living in Los Angeles. "The six-episode show is adapted from 'Fridays,' their rom-comish web series that so impressed Sundance the channel decided to make 'This Close' the debut offering for its new digital streaming service. The director said, “We did a lot of two shots so that you could see both Josh and Shoshannah signing together. It makes it feel like they are in a bubble of their own.” Read more about the new show in the New York Times here. Vulture calls the show "charming" and you can read the review here. Below is the trailer for This Close.

Deaf School Counselor Arrested: Accused of Child Molestation

A man who worked with students at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont is facing child molestation charges. Ricardo Tafolla Rose has been a counselor at the school. If you know someone who might have been a victim, you are asked to call the California Highway Patrol Golden Gate Division Special Investigations Unit at 800-835-5247. KRON-TV has a short video report.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Protestors with disabilities handcuffed, dragged out of Congress

As we reported yesterday, there is a bill in Congress that would "undermine" the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the ACLU and other advocacy groups. People protesting that proposed law were "dragged from Congress on Tuesday" according to Vice and other media outlets. Here is video of showing U.S. Capitol Police "forcibly removing demonstrators, several of whom had disabilities." Read more in Vice News.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Proposed Law in Congress would "Undermine" ADA Law

President George H. W. Bush Signs the ADA bill into law in 1990 
A bill in Congress could completely change the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The House of Representatives bill H.R. 620 (the “ADA Education and Reform Act”) would "eliminate any incentive for businesses to comply with the ADA" until someone complained and the business was sent a legal notice, according to The Hill. The bussiness would have half a year to make some progress on changing the barrier. The ACLU says the bill would "undermines the  very  purpose of the  landmark civil rights law" and actually "harms people with disabilities. Read more about the proposed law in The Hill here, the ACLU here, and read the bill for yourself here.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Captioning at Broadway Shows

A free smartphone app is giving Broadway audiences closed captioning during performances. The GalaPro app works in airplane mode. The text shows up on a user's phone with a black screen to avoid disturbing other patrons. Read more about from NPR here.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Longtime Gally administrator passes

image from Gallaudet Archives
A Gallaudet University administrator and scholar who wrote and edited books about deaf people during the Holocaust and the portrayal of deaf people on-screen, has died of cancer. John Schuchman was 79 years old. A CODA, Dr. Schuchman's first language was ASL. He wrote  Hollywood Speaks: Deafness and the Film Entertainment Industry as well as Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe. Read more about him from the Gallaudet website here and from the Washington Post here. During his 34 years at Gallaudet, he served as a dean, vice president of academic affairs and provost.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Biographical Drama About First Deaf MLB Player Being Filmed

image from promo for film "I See the Crowd Roar"
The story of professional baseball player William “Dummy” Hoy is being shot in Kentucky. Title The Silent Natural is set in the 1880s. The director, David Risotto, already produced a documentary about Hoy. He told WKMS-FM, “I promised the family that I would use deaf actors to portray him and any other deaf role." Read the full story here. Below is a promo for the documentary Risotto made called I see the Crowd Roar.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Oklahoma Teacher Pay Raise Measure

Teachers at Oklahoma's School for the Deaf and School for the Blind were about to be left out of an effort to give teachers in the state a $5000 raise. But lawmakers have announced that the proposed legislation has been changed to include them. Read more here.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Bringing Hip-Hop to the Deaf

The Great Big Story visits with Matt Maxey in the video below. Matt learned to sign when he was 18 years old by signing along with rap artists. Now, he terps hip-hop for artists like Chance the Rapper and D.R.A.M.

The Cheesecake Factory Settles Lawsuit

The Cheesecake Factory will pay Oleg Ivanov back pay and damages, after the restaurant chain refused to provide him with a sign language interpreter and other accommodations. Ivanov is deaf and worked at the Cheese Factory in downtown Seattle. The EEOC issued a statement, which said in part:
image via WikiMedia Commons Anthony92931
We are pleased that The Cheesecake Factory has agreed to work with the EEOC to help dismantle barriers that individuals with disabilities face in the workplace. The changes will help future deaf applicants and employees at The Cheesecake Factory.
You can see the news release here.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Not on the Radar: Sexual Assault of College Students With Disabilities

Sexual assault policies at colleges typically don't address the needs of deaf students, among other groups. That's according to a new federal study from the National Council on Disability. Wendy Harbour, the director of the National Center for College Students With Disabilities, who was part of putting together the report, said:
Sexual assault has become a topic of concern on campuses and with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, but seldom has the conversation included consideration of the needs of college students with disabilities.
The report finds undergraduates with a disability are more likely to be sexually assaulted than their counterparts. The report titled “Not on the Radar: Sexual Assault of College Students With Disabilities” is the very first federally-funded on the subject. It concludes that many school are not in compliance with ADA law, ignoring the needs of deaf and hard of hearing students. For instance, many colleges lack procedures for communicating with assault victims who are deaf or hard of hearing. You'll find the full report on the National Council on Disability website here.