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HSE parent asks for better school entry measures for people who are deaf

FISHERS Ind. (WISH) — A parent at Hamilton Southeastern Schools is asking the district to modify the way parents gain access to the building.

The parent is deaf and said an experience trying to get in touch with his daughter backfired. He said staff chased him, and police were called.

William Babineaux works with the Indiana Chapter of Black Deaf Advocates. Being deaf has it’s challenges. He says they came to the surface last week. In a video and an accompanying email sent to News 8, Babineaux explained what happened at his daughter’s school.

He said his daughter lost her phone while in the drop-off line. He told her to go ahead into the school and they’d find the phone later. Shortly after, he said he found the phone under the car floor mat.

Babineaux said his daughter had just walked into the building and thought he’d have time to get the phone to her before she got too far away. He said he walked into the school and tried to make eye contact with someone at the door. But, Babineux said, that person looked away.

So, he didn’t think anything of it and continued to catch up with his daughter. But, he soon realized staff was close behind.

He said the staff told him he used his deafness as an excuse to not follow the rules. But, Babineaux said, the current measures in place create barriers for people who can’t hear. He said hearing parents can talk through an intercom or ask for assistance, whereas he has to have face–face interaction or make a lot of noise to even get anyone’s attention.

He is asking the district to implement mechanism that provide face to face communication.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools is on break for the holiday, but officials shared a statement with News 8.

“HSE Schools follows strict safety protocols to protect the health and wellbeing of our students and staff. Anyone who enters a school building is required to check-in at the Main Office. There is signage posted in multiple areas with this information. In the situation you are referring to, the individual did not check-in with our staff in the Main Office. The incident took place during student arrival when students are entering the building. He proceeded to walk through the main corridor and our staff then promptly followed visitor safety protocols”.

Statement from Hamilton Southeastern Schools

Babineaux’s email to News 8, in response to the incident: “If you are not sure what are the appropriate approach, there are professionals at Deaf agencies and Deaf organizations throughout the state that would gladly assist in that regard.”

Since the school is on break, it’s not clear if it plans to implement changes as it relates to better face-to-face interaction with parents who are deaf.