Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Editor’s Note: This story is based on outdated information and was published in error. The Washington Times regrets the error.

New Jersey school officials have threatened a 12-year-old hearing-impaired girl to stop using sign language to communicate on the schoolbus or face a 3-day suspension, the girl’s parents told ABC News.

Danica Lesko and her parents say sign language is the only way to for her to effectively communicate after losing her hearing in an accident in November. Officials at Stonybrook School and district officials in Branchburg, N.J., say signing is a safety hazard, ABC News reported.

The March 30 letter sent home from Danica’s principal said she was “doing sign language after being told it wasn’t allowed on the bus.”

In a statement released through the school district’s attorney, David Rubin, the Branchburg Board of Education insisted it did not violate anyone’s rights and is only trying to protect other students, ABC News reported.

“The Board is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to all students with disabilities, and is satisfied that there has been no violation of that policy in this case. The Board is also committed to assuring the safety of all students who travel on District buses, and will continue to take appropriate steps to accomplish that goal,” the statement said.

SEE ALSO: 5-year-old suspended for toy gun in Mass. school

Danica’s parents may sue over the threat, claiming officials are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“She has a hearing problem, and now she’s being punished for using sign language,” Mary Ann Lesko, Danica’s mother, told The Star-Ledger of Newark. “It’s absurd.”

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