School Bus Sign Language Ban Lifted

ByABC News

B R A N C H B U R G, N.J., April 26, 2001 -- A hearing-impaired New Jersey girl willnot be barred from using sign language on her school bus as long asshe obeys all the district's safety rules.

Danica Lesko, 12, was told by her school principal last monththat she would be suspended for three days if she did not stop,because the use of sign language was "disruptive."

District officials in Branchburg were soon bombarded with calls and e-mails from people and groups around the country, who questioned why theban was needed. The issue also was the topic of several talk radioshows.

Signing Allowed on the Bus

"The district's policy and the principal's intention is not toban signing," Superintendent Lois Capabianco said Wednesday."Everyone needs to know that signing is allowed on the bus."

She declined to further discuss the case, citing active andpotential litigation, but said the district's attorney had sent thegirl's parents a letter which clarifies the policy.

The Leskos, who claim their daughter's hearing problem wascaused by an incident at her school last year, said they wereseeking an apology from school officials.

"My daughter was obeying the rules of the bus," Mary Ann Leskosaid. "She was not accused of any inappropriate behavior."

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