Recent consolidation of school is questionable

Recently North Carolina has opted to close The Governor Morehead School for the Blind and consolidate its programs and administration under that of the Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf. For now, the plan is to allow students who are blind to remain on the GMS campus in Raleigh as a satellite campus of ENCSD, but the future of this compromise and its impacts on students are unclear.

Under this plan, North Carolina will have two schools for the deaf and one satellite campus serving students who are blind under ENCSD leadership. How can ENCSD administrators trained in deaf education make instructional decisions for students who are blind? How will resources and money be shared? Will students who are blind get equal access to resources since they are a satellite campus? What assurances are there that students who are blind will be kept in a stable environment in Raleigh? What will the future hold for parents who wish for their children to attend GMS?

If, in the future, ENCSD decides to close the satellite campus in Raleigh, how will the students who are blind have access to transportation or learn travel skills in rural Wilson County? How will these students access the many transition services in Raleigh? What will happen to the one and only teacher-education program for teachers of the visually impaired in Raleigh?

Doesn't it make more sense to have one school for the blind and one school for the deaf along with a deaf satellite campus? The citizens of N.C. need to ask these important questions of their elected officials in Raleigh now and during the next election cycle.

— Alan A. Chase


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