OPINION: Should American Sign Language be offered at Davis High?

PHOTO: Three hands sign out the letters A, S and L to represent the acronym American Sign Language is known by.

ASL proves to be useful in a variety of situations

By Ludi Wang,

Davis High student–

Despite offering language classes such as German, French, Spanish and Japanese at many different levels and with various teachers, Davis High does not currently have an  American Sign Language (ASL) class. DHS should consider adding one due to an abundance of interest.

 To start off, ASL should be added due to its vast utility. Not only is it useful for communicating with deaf and hard-of-hearing people, but also in loud environments where it’s hard to hear spoken words.

Aside from basic convenience, the ability to sign can have a deep impact on others. According to the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, more than 90 percent of deaf or hard of hearing children are born to hearing parents.

Those parents often have difficulties communicating with their child, right at the age when children begin learning languages. They would have the chance to connect right from the start if their parents already know how to sign. 

In the everyday world, knowing a common language opens a whole new opportunity for deaf and hearing people to communicate, in situations such as ordering at a restaurant. One example is the Washington D.C. Starbucks where every employee signs.

 Despite its usefulness, very few people grow up signing natively. Many people only learn ASL by taking classes. Several students take ASL at  community colleges while others, like myself, take part in the DHS ASL Club to try and pick up a bit of the language.

 With this being known, Davis Joint Unitfied School District students could surely benefit from comprehensive courses located conveniently on campus.

Logistics outweigh ideal language course

By Emily Chapman,

BlueDevilHUB.com Editor-

Although it is ideal to have American Sign Language (ASL) as a course at Davis High, adding a fifth language at DHS has been proven difficult to manage.

Adding a language on top of Spanish, French, Mandrian and Japanese is hard to juggle. This is evident with the German program that was integrated out of DHS last year.

Last year’s German 3 P class had seven students in it, according to DHS head counselor Catherine Pereira, which was not enough to continue the program.

Furthermore, Pereira believes that balancing Full Time Equivalent (FTE) classes and students is difficult.

“It really comes down to how many students can fill it [classes] up,” Pereira said. “It needs to be close to being full with classes competing for the same FTE.”

Pereira thinks that although ASL “would be a great course to offer… It would be hard for it to be a class here [DHS] unless something was traded out.”

Since ASL is offered at local community colleges like Woodland Community and Sacramento State, it is accessible to students in Yolo County. Pereira also suggests that the language could someday be offered at Da Vinci High and students could commute to take the course.

Despite the long process of having to go through several committees, the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) board of regents and the school board, offering ASL has unique benefits such as allowing connective learners to thrive with learning a visual language.

Pereira agrees that, idealistically, the course could be great for students in the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) program.

“Looking at all our students… the way they process information, the way the learn, with language based courses sometimes it’s hard… It’s just a valuable course, just helpful to know ” Pereira said.

Should ASL be offered at DHS? Take a survey. https://survey.zohopublic.com/zs/AQBUzY

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