School for blind faces closure

June 15, 2009 9:05:52 PM PDT
Lawmakers are considering closing the Morehead School in Raleigh, which would send students to two other state schools for the deaf.Johnathan Kirk of Cary is a student at the Governor Morehead School. He said he is afraid things would change if the state closed Morehead and sent blind students to schools for the deaf in Wilson or Morganton.

"I can't see very well and they would be signing back to me," student Johnathan Kirk said. "We can't have a very good communication."

Some students at the Governor Morehead School are fully blind, while some can see a little.

"There are some counties that have no services at all for these kids," his mother Shannon Kirk said. "They need a place to go and they deserve a good education."

The move would save the state $10 million a year. Click here to read more about other budget cuts

Supporters of the Morehead School said the savings would be the same if the state closed one of the deaf schools instead, and sent all of those students to one location.

The National Federation of the Blind said part of the problem was the schools fall under Human Services, which faces more budget cuts.

"These children are not inmates," Gary Ray with the National Federation of the Blind said. "They are not patients. They should be treated as students in part of an educational system so that is part of the problem."

"If you do this, it's going to reduce the effectiveness of the education for people with disabilities and that's going to prevent them from succeeding and prevent the economy from getting better to some degree," Kirk said.

To make sure lawmakers see and hear their message, supporters of the school for the blind will be rallying outside the Legislative building on Wednesday.


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