Trenton – Two bills sponsored by Senate Education Committee Vice Chair Senator Shirley K. Turner and Chair Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, addressing the educational rights and needs of students who are deaf or hard of hearing, were signed into law.
“Often times hearing parents are at a loss for how to best address their deaf child’s disability,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). “Providing them with a resource guide will help parents better grasp the needs of their children and the services available to them. It will also help introduce parents to the deaf community which can provide support and guidance for the children and their loved ones.”
The first law will require school districts to recognize the rights of students who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind by creating the “Deaf Student’s Bill of Rights.”
“Our schools must provide children with environments in which they can grow and thrive,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “It is extremely important that our classrooms are meeting the needs of all students. This legislation will help ensure that our districts are providing deaf and hard of hearing students with the tools and resources necessary for them to succeed.”
The law specifies the “Deaf Student’s Bill of Rights” will include the students’ right to access appropriate screenings, assessments and early intervention. It also includes the students’ right to have opportunities to associate with deaf adult role models as well as school peers. Among other things, the bill of rights will include a students’ right to direct instruction from or access to those fluent in the child’s main mode of communication.