July 29, 2012

Sheri Farinha's response to Legislative Advocate for California Oral Options Schools


Sheri A. Farinha
Chief Executive Officer
NorCal Services for Deaf & HH
4708 Roseville Rd, Ste 111
North Highlands, CA 95670
SFarinha@norcalcenter.org
Pager: xoSheri@gmail.com
Telephone:916-349-7500 v/vp/tty
Or 916-993-3040/vp or 916-626-4928
See what’s up and coming:
www.norcalcenter.org


From: Sheri A. Farinha
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 1:27 PM
To: Esperanza Ross (esperanza@lstreet.com)
Cc: Marla Hatrak (mhatrak@gmail.com)
Subject: Tell Bulger to Cease and Desist.
Importance: High

July 25, 2012

Dear Esperanza Ross, Legislative Advocate for California Oral Options Schools:

We would like to let you know that we are both disappointed and shocked at the recent development from one of your national advocates, Ms. Theresa Bulger, the Director of Options School Services being against the ratification of the United Nations’ Convention on Rights for People with Disabilities (UN-CRPD). Ms. Bulger has issued an alert to Options Schools, AGBell Association, and all those practicing Listening and Speaking Language to oppose Senate’s ratification of UN’s CRPD. We would appreciate if you can work with them to cease and desist sending out such letters.

Below is an email in its entirety received yesterday where Theresa Bulger is telling parents and supporters to vote against important legislation pertaining to the UN Treaty, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This treaty has been in the works world-wide for a very long time, and we will not tolerate being treated like second-class citizens. That is exactly what Oral Options Schools actions below tell us -- they do not respect Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals’ human rights to use American Sign Language.

We hope that with the help of the CCOS-CEID group, Ms. Bulger will realize that in calling the groups to oppose, she is in essence going against ALL people with disabilities. We certainly view this as a politically unwise decision.

In reality, and true be told, there’s no way that the Senate can revise the conditions within the CRPD because it has been voted on in the United Nations.

Here are quotes from her letter and our responses to these unfortunate fear-mongering speculations:

“Although CRPD looks at first glance to be innocuous it has serious potential to harm oral deaf options. CRPD makes sign language, ASL, and deaf Culture the “right” of every deaf person. This means that it will put the “rights” of deaf children as the overriding factor in service provision of all services.”

Our response: No, it doesn't. But consider this bit of common sense: All children have “rights.” When it comes to deaf children, shouldn’t their “needs” be the prominent factor in determining their service provisions?

“… it attempts to establish sign language as the preferred language of the “deaf community.” That means that the “preferred communication modality of the child” will be sign. Parents will have their choice removed. Statements that sign is the natural and preferred language of the deaf will allow states, school districts and others to support only sign. This is a deliberate and strategic move to undermine parental choice and listening and spoken language options for children.”

Our response: Conspiracy theory aside, that statement has been simply been over interpreted and overwrought; parents will still have choices as defined under the Federal law. In our view, the UN Treaty means that parents will have MORE language opportunities: ASL and English.. Technically, that’s the same it is now, so why do we consider it more? The literature in the past has always been unbalanced in oral English’s favor.
Balance is nothing to fear. In fact, that is what CALSAE and CCOS have been promoting: balance.

“We do not object to competent sign language rights, but rather to the exclusive use of the terms and the pre-emptive strike against parental rights and family culture.”

Our response: Again, this statement has been simply been over interpreted and overwrought; there is no pre-emptive strike against parental rights or family culture or for that matter, family values. Balance is nothing to fear. Ms. Bulger has not protested when she’s enjoyed having exclusive propaganda for oral English, and LSL. She should not fear balance. She should not be promoting doomsday and fear, period.

“Suggest that the current language should not imply that the state is literally determining the culture, language and mores of all deaf people based on a faction.”

Our response: Again, overwrought. This shouldn’t be framed as a fight between oral-English deaf people and ASL-speaking deaf people. We need to avoid that. We respect families. It is our view -- it is shaping up to be a fight between ASL proponents and hearing professionals like Ms. Bulger. The true motivation behind this, is that these medical and “hearing” professionals are representing and protecting their professional interests.


In summary, Ms. Bulger’s comments are not only extremely false, but also take action which demonstrates malicious intent to harm deaf children everywhere who do not benefit from LSL. To physically and morally impede on such rights is not only detrimental to not only the signing Deaf and any human being that supports the right to language, ASL and English, but also unethical. This kind of action from Oral Options Schools is unacceptable!

Again, we ask that you forward this correspondence onward to ensure that Ms. Bulger and her supporters cease and desist.
Any such action to deprive Deaf Children of language which includes American Sign Language is, quite frankly, criminal.
The results of injustices to support an “oral only” mentality end of the spectrum, needs to come to an immediate stop.


Sincerely,


Sheri Farinha & Marla Hatrak, Co-Chairs
California Stakeholders for ASL & English (CAL-SAE)

Cc: The American Deaf Community
Parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children
----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: (name deleted )
Date: July 24, 2012 3:46:34 PM CDT
To: DHHS-SpeakUp@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [DHHS-SpeakUp] Sneak attack against/URGENT for ORAL Deaf Education
Reply-To: DHHS-SpeakUp@yahoogroups.com


This was sent to me by Theresa Bulger. We need to act!!!!!

Hi All,

Please take a look at the first two paragraphs below. It is a REAL concern for EVERY family and school. I pulled together the information and a plausible response - we can nip this in the bud if we move fast.

CRPD/Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
Thursday, July 26th at 9:30 AM at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, G-50 on Capitol Hill

What the CRPD is and how it affects the rights of the signing deaf community and adversely impacts the oral deaf community:

Although CRPD looks at first glance to be innocuous it has serious potential to harm oral deaf options. CRPD makes sign language, ASL, and deaf Culture the right of every deaf person. This means that it will put the rights of deaf children as the overriding factor in service provision of all services. That means that as the USA comes into compliance with this convention only sign language will be provided (funded) to children. NAD has made a strategic move to pre-empt dialogue re the ADA.

Isnt this just a foreign policy decision?

No, it will impact domestic policy as well. When the USA ratifies, our nation will have to come in compliance with our foreign policy. If you think that is far-fetched then look at history, Ambassador (retired) John MacDonald organized the UN disabilities convention and as Ambassador McDonald has proudly told me, That is what ADA and IDEA grew out of ADA will have to comply with the language ratified.

Isnt it just allowing sign language or ensuring it for others?

No, it attempts to establish sign language as the preferred language of the deaf community. That means that the preferred communication modality of the child will be sign. Parents will have their choice removed. Statements that sign is the natural and preferred language of the deaf will allow states, school districts and others to support only sign. This is a deliberate and strategic move to undermine parental choice and listening and spoken language options for children.

The ADA and other disability laws do not currently include deaf-specific language; the CRPD recognizes sign language and deaf culture as "human rights", and includes language such as deaf culture, linguistic identity, and deaf community". We do not object to competent sign language rights, but rather to the exclusive use of the terms and the pre-emptive strike against parental rights and family culture.

Please call YOUR Senator today and email or phone Senator Kerry (Committee Chair) and other members of the committee (listed below) and state:

1. The CRPD as written is biased toward the signing deaf community and the oral deaf community has had no representation in this process. NAD is an organization, which has done an excellent job in advancing the agenda of the signing deaf community, but not the large and growing oral deaf community. Provide them with this contact info:

YOUR own name and parent group contacts (i.e. PA Coalition)
You may include mine if you would like Theresa Bulger tdb@privatepublicsolutions.org

2. Request that the legislation either strike all reference to deaf or that it provide inclusive language, that CRPD make references to the signing deaf community and the oral deaf community. The term deaf community implies an agreement and authority that simply do not exist.

Suggest that the current language should not imply that the state is literally determining the culture, language and mores of all deaf people based on a faction. You might also mention that NAD has business backings with a guaranteed voting block at their meetings. (The signing deaf industry of relay operations, interpreters and videophone services is financially propelling this forward.)

3. Suggest that language would ideally state that we recognize that the deaf community is a rich and varied one, many members of the deaf community choose to use sign language and many members of the deaf community choose to use spoken language. There need to be access, equitable funding, comp
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Sheri A. Farinha
Chief Executive Officer
NorCal Services for Deaf & HH
4708 Roseville Rd, Ste 111
North Highlands, CA 95670
SFarinha@norcalcenter.org
Pager: xoSheri@gmail.com
Telephone:916-349-7500 v/vp/tty
Or 916-993-3040/vp or 916-626-4928
See what’s up and coming:
www.norcalcenter.org







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