More want deaf school kept open
February 19. 2013 5:26AM
Boyd Weiss, president of the Northeastern Region Pennsylvania State Education Association Friday urged the state to continue to fund the State School for the Deaf to continue helping “some of our neediest children.”
And the parents of 3-year-old Cam Czubek, a preschooler at the Scranton school, say they can’t understand how anyone can “place a price tag” on a child’s education.
“This is a great injustice to the deaf community and it needs to be corrected,” Weiss said in an e-mailed statement. “We’ll need the state legislature to act and save this valuable school that has helped so many children flourish.” Weiss applauded legislators who have promised to fight to save the school.
Ruth Gerrity, president of the Scranton State School for the Deaf Education Association, joined Weiss in support of the 129-year-old school.
She said the school “has managed a fiscally responsible program and has weathered economic downturns, upswings and even stood solid through the Great Depression.”
“The governor should not attempt to balance his budget on the backs of deaf children,” Gerrity said.
Gerrity said there are “myriads of examples” of school/state collaborative relationships across the country, specifically for schools for the deaf.
Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposed $29 billion 2009-10 budget didn’t contain funding for the Scranton school. The governor’s office has said the state should not be in the business of operating the school – the only state-run facility in Pennsylvania. The school employs 77 faculty and staff members and educates 107 deaf students.
Janey Greenwald, mother of Cam Czubek, and her husband Todd Czubek live in Waverly and are extremely pleased with the school.
“Todd comes from a family of many deaf or hearing impaired people,” Greenwald said. “Cam represents the fifth generation to be at the Scranton School for the Deaf.”
Greenwald said the school teaches American Sign Language and provides appropriate instructions for English and other subjects.
“It’s a deaf-friendly environment with a critical mass of deaf professionals and children,” she said. “As a deaf student, he needs an environment that is visually accessible – where everyone uses sign language.”
Greenwald said her son loves the school, and its closing would make it difficult for the family to stay in Pennsylvania. They would consider moving to an area where there is a school for the deaf.
“Public school? Absolutely not,” Greenwald said. “I think for all the reasons we want Cam in the school for the deaf are why we don’t want him in public school. The public schools are just not equipped to deal with deaf students.
“I’m not blaming them; it’s just not their area of expertise.”