Sunday, May 4, 2008
Deaf Child's Bill of Rights Becomes Law
Deaf Child's Bill of Rights Becomes Law in Colorado
Posted May 1996
Colorado Governor Romer signed the Deaf Child's Bill of Rights (DCBR) into law on Monday, March 18, 1996. The bill's chief provisions are:
1. educational options for all Deaf and hard of hearing children will continue to be available,
2. deaf children will be protected for their language development need, and
3. the school of choice rights for parents will be protected.
Synopsis of the Bill
Recognizes the unique needs of children with low-incidence disabilities. Identifies
The specific educational needs of deaf and hard of hearing children.
Requires the committee that prepares an individual educational program for a child who is deaf or hard of hearing to consider child's specific communication needs, including the child's mode of communication; the availability of peers, adult models, and staff with whom the child can communicate; and the availability of appropriate educational services.
Specifies reasons for which a child may not be denied education in a particular communication mode or language.
Allows a child to receive education in multiple communication modes or languages.
Requires that a child receive education in the communication mode or language that is deemed beneficial for the child.
Clarifies that the committee does not have to ensure the availability of a specific number of peers, that the provisions of the act do not abrogate a parent's statutory rights to educational choice, and that no school district is required to expend additional resources or hire additional personnel to implement these requirements.
As stated above, the new law does not mandate school districts to allocate additional funds for these requirements, but does prevent them from closing existing programs.
DCBR and Others
The Colorado Association of the Deaf (CAD), along with members of the local chapter of the A.G. Bell Association for the Deaf, and the Colorado "Parent Support Network" for deaf and hard of hearing students worked cooperatively to support this bill. Stella Sanfratello, chairperson of the Deaf Child's Bill of Rights Committee (DCBR) of CAD deserves our deep appreciation for her work. State Representative Moe Keller, a teacher of deaf students, carried our bill the whole time. It was also supported by State Senator Sally Hopper. The vote in the House of Representatives was 64-0, and in the Senate, 33-2, which shows overwhelming support for this bill designed to preserve options for the education of deaf children. Parents, teachers, and the deaf community were instrumental as well.