Meeker throwing support behind blind school

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker

September 28, 2011 7:51:46 AM PDT
The new state budget requires one of the state's three residential schools to close down.

That puts the schools for the deaf in Morganton and Wilson, as well as the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, fighting to stay open.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker will speak on behalf of the School for the Blind Wednesday at a hearing conducted by the Department of Public Instruction.

The mayor and other advocates have said the Morehead School is the best place for visually impaired students to learn. However, closing the school would save the state nearly $6 million a year.

If the school did close, students would be sent to a school for the deaf in Wilson or in Morganton.

"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," student Johnathan Kirk said.

The National Federation of the Blind is also advocating for the students.

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

Governor Bev Perdue said she is also throwing her support behind the schools.

"The blind and deaf students need services and care," she said. "I will continue to fight for that kind of service and care."

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