School Wants Deaf Boy, 3, to Change Name Sign...
Because it looks too much like a weapon
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2012 1:30 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Hunter Spanjer is deaf, so the Nebraska 3-year-old says his name by signing with a hand gesture—a hand gesture that his school doesn't like. Grand Island Public Schools prohibits "any instrument … that looks like a weapon" from being on campus, and apparently the school thinks Hunter's hands fit the bill. He signs his name by waving his hands with crossed, pointed fingers; in a video on, you can see it does look very slightly he's pointing a fake finger-gun.

But it's not: "It's a symbol. It's an actual sign, a registered sign, through SEE," says Hunter's father, Brian. That's Signing Exact English, the sign language Hunter uses. The crossed-fingers detail is a modification to the name sign to make it unique for Hunter. The family has the National Association of the Deaf behind them, but all a school spokesperson will say is that officials "are working with the parents to come to the best solution we can for the child."

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Aug 29, 2012 11:28 PM CDT
Not only are his hands not instruments, but they do not look like guns. Since this boy speaks with his hands by not allowing him to speak his own name they are infringing his first amendment right to free speech. I fully support the no weapon ban in this school system but they need to temper the policy with a little common sense. When my son was in the 4th grade they kicked him out of school for a day because he pointed at another student and a third student said bang. They said he violated the no weapon policy. I told the Principal that she knew very well that his finger was unloaded and when I went to the school for a counseling session about it I wore a Dillon Mini Gun tee shirt in protest. How about we deal with real problems in the school systems instead of made up problems.
Aug 29, 2012 1:57 PM CDT
This is a teaching moment for the educators. They need to explain Hunter's way of communication to all the other students. How ridiculous to think his finger looks like a gun.
Aug 29, 2012 1:56 PM CDT
This is some ignorant sh-t right here. What if my name was Peter Gunn? Could I come to school?