Should there be ASL classes at MSHS?


Ari Clark

Manitou Springs High School students sign MSHS in American Sign Language.

Ari Clark, Reporter

Within school spaces the diversity of students is increasing, meaning that there are always new students with different needs. An example of this is students within the deaf community becoming more common in schools. People with hearing impairments often communicate using American Sign Language, and there has been discourse over whether or not it should be included in the curriculum at high schools like Manitou Springs High School.

 Kathryn Johnson, a junior at MSHS, feels that ASL would be an important addition. “American Sign Language is something that we’ve never offered,” Johnson said. “But I think it is something that would be super beneficial because it is a thing that a lot of people do use in their daily lives.” 

The addition of an ASL class would allow students to communicate with more people, much like any of the languages that MSHS already offers. Ingrid Perez, Spanish teacher at MSHS, thinks that it would be a helpful class to include. “I think that American Sign Language should be part of the curriculum,” Perez said. “I think it will be helpful for everybody to know how to sign, especially with the community of students that we are having lately.”

Students like Aiden Snow (11) believe that it would just be a good skill to learn in general, even if it is not always applied to your daily life. “I think it’s  just a really good skill to learn,” Snow said.

Johnson feels that the inclusion of an ASL class would help the community feel more welcoming.  “I think that it would create an environment where everyone feels safe,” she said.

The option of an ASL class could give students the ability to communicate with as many people as possible. “Nowadays, we have people from around the world everywhere, so it is a must to at least know another language,” Perez said. “It doesn’t matter which one it is, but it is a must to have more knowledge about other cultures.”

MSHS officials have not discussed adding an ASL class, but in the event an ASL class is added, it would be best to hire a teacher with hearing impairments. It can be difficult for deaf people to get work due to language barriers, and the culture that comes from being a deaf person would better teach the language and culture.

Sydney Passink (11) feels that an ASL class would be helpful even outside of a school setting. “I believe having an American Sign Language class at my school benefits everyone, not just students,” Passink said. “I think it’s important to learn ASL because you never know who you’re going to meet in life.”

Even if an ASL class is not added to the curriculum, it is something that each individual should pursue themselves if they want to learn it. The ability to communicate with different people regardless of language barriers would be beneficial. “The Earth needs to be a kind place,” Johnson said. “We include everyone.”