By Joanne Greenberg
In Lakewood, Colorado as in many other places in the United States, people are protesting the placement of schools and other facilities for the Deaf. They worry about increased traffic, and the lowering of property values. They fear danger from the pupils in those schools, or the recipients of those services.
”We have nothing against the Deaf,” they say, “but the school doesn’t belong here – or here, or here. Such a school would spoil the integrity of the neighborhood.“
A society will create what it values. In this case, concern at a distance. The reality is, that dozens of studies of such intrusions, show us that when the “invaders” are welcomed, they serve to bond the community and result in improvement in property values and the stability of neighborhoods, the way schools, parks and other additions do.
A neighborhood near me accepted a group of at-risk boys in a residential center. The boys were under closer supervision from the school faculty, than home-raised children are. Their group leaders urged them to volunteer time and effort to help the neighbors around them. They became welcome presences in the community, shoveling snow and doing odd jobs for older people and shut-ins who needed their help. Friendships resulted. “The best neighbors you could have,” my friend told me. When the group wanted to expand, the new neighborhood picketed against them. Maybe a Wal-mart will come in for those fearful people.
Joanne Greenberg was born in 1932, in Brooklyn, NY. She was educated at American University and received and honorary Doctorate from Gallaudet University – the world’s only college for the Deaf. She has written 2 books on the subject and has spent decades working with state mental hospitals for appropriate care for the mentally ill Deaf.
- Deaf Males and Sex Crime (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Guestblog: Marsha Graham on the Gallaudet Controversy (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Job Opportunity (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Playing Sports with Hearing Loss (healthyhearing.com)
- 2012 at DeafInPrison.com (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Sign Language Researchers Broaden Science Lexicon (nytimes.com)
- Nowhere Man In Nowhere Land (deafinprison.wordpress.com)
- Poorer districts have more kids in special ed (times-news.com)