A Fallen Language

American Sign curriculum no longer an option for students

Meris Lacinski, Feature Editor

   American Sign Language (ASL) is a second language most schools do not include in their curriculum. ASL should be used throughout school districts to give students broader opportunities for another foreign language, but currently, it is not an option at Northwest. 

   In previous years, Northwest High School was lucky enough to have the opportunity to teach and learn this language, but over the past two years, students have lost the privilege because of changes in staffing. 

The previous teacher was reassigned to the middle school, and the program she developed was removed as an option.

   This former teacher, Jill Maxwell, grew up learning and using ASL. Maxwell’s grandparents were deaf and had many other relatives who grew up deaf. This instilled a passion in her for the language and wanting to help others learn ASL.       

“I miss the students and the relationships that were developed with the high school students,” said Maxwell. “I miss being there for that point in their lives where I can talk with them about career choices and have adult conversations.”

   Junior Braylee Bevier took ASL her freshman year of high school and was excited to take this course because she heard great things about it from her peers. Bevier’s friends would go over to her house, and they would talk about how they loved the atmosphere and the learning.

   Since the high school has removed this class as a foreign language credit, students now have to take an online course called E2020, or they have the option to take Spanish.

   The loss of this class has made an impact on many students who enjoyed taking the course. Those students who looked forward to taking it can only hope the school brings it back soon. 

   “I think about teaching ASL often, and many times when I see shows about Helen Keller and her life, I immediately think about showing students movies about her. Then realize I don’t have the opportunity any longer to do so,” said Maxwell.