For Immediate Release OUTRAGED!!! Deaf Community Rallies to Protest Underhanded Sale of Michigan School for the DeafOver 100 Deaf Community members will unite on thesteps of the State Capitol on Wednesday, December 15,2010 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. to stop State Senatorsfrom signing Senate Bill 1558. This legislation sells the80-acre residential school that has educated MichiganDeaf students since 1854.The Deaf Community believes their civil rights are beingviolated by this unscrupulous transaction. The deal,
done in secret, is premised on fraudulent reports ofcommunity support in order to avoid controversy thatwill derail the sale. It lacks transparency anddeliberately circumvents of 150 years of stewardship bythe Deaf Community.The proposal lacks needed accommodations of MSDstudents and will cost exorbitant amounts that will drivethe school out of existence.Contact your senator. Come to therally.For further information, please contact:Freida Morrison, MSDAA Presidentaslmorrison@yahoo.comwww.msdaa.infoMarty Miracle, MDAA Board Membermartymiracle@tmail.comVP: 810-655-9115
Additional information:!Map and driving directions to the state Capitol:http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ltc/Driving_Directions_to_the_Capitol_View_Building_302935_7.pdf!*** See the bottom for the letter for Clubs, Organizations andAgencies to send to State Senator and Governor. ***Links to ABC Local News:September 21, 2010: Signs of opposition lined the campus of a Flint schoolTuesday morninghttp://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/local&id=7680601December 3, 2010: $36 million plan to build two state-of-the-art schools in Flintmoves forwardhttp://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/local&id=7821756December 10, 2010: Michigan School for the Deaf sale blocked by glitchhttp://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/local&id=7836907December 10, 2010: Michigan School for the Deaf deal hits Lansing snaghttp://abclocal.go.com/wjrt/story?section=news/local&id=7833325Links to Flint Journal Articles:September 23, 2010: Michigan School for the Deaf plan could move forwardsoon; concerns aired during alumni meetinghttp://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2010/09/michigan_school_for_the_deaf_p_1.htmlDecember 2, 2010: State employees union opposing Michigan School for theDeaf salehttp://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2010/12/state_employees_union_opposing.htmlDecember 3, 2010: Michigan School for the Deaf sale would bring one of biggest
Flint developments in recent historyhttp://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2010/12/michigan_school_for_the_deaf_s_1.htmlLink to NPR Radio Interview with Freida Morrison:December 9, 2010: MICHIGAN: Opposition rising against the sale of theMichigan School for the Deafhttp://www.publicbroadcasting.net/michigan/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=1735464Letter for Clubs, Organizations and Agencies tosend to Senator and Governor:!RE: Senate Bill 1558: Plea for the Governor NOT to sign Bill 1558 inits current form. Deaf Community Leaders request an immediate,emergency meeting prior to end of this current legislative session inlieu of signing.Michigan School for the Deaf Alumni Association (MSDAA), herebyformally submits an emergency plea directly to Governor JenniferGranholm to withhold her signature finalizing Senate Bill No.1558 inits current form:Leaders of Deaf Community, agencies and organizations across Michiganrequest that select Deaf Community representatives meet in an emergency15 minute (face to face) session directly with the Governor in lieu ofsigning Bill 1558. The purpose of the meeting is to clearly and emphaticallycommunicate the devastating impact this bill would have on the education,language and cultural heritage of Michigan Deaf citizens and their families.Members of MSDAA also believe that facts presented regarding the salecaused much confusion and were incomplete. Furthermore; it wasdiscovered that any sale of designated school property is an abandonmentof a mandated obligation and directly violates the Michigan Constitution of1850 (Article XIII, Section10).Governor Wisner (1859-1860) said of this clause to the legislators:“This is a wise and charitable provision of the organic law. The framers ofthat instrument seemed unwilling to leave the care and welfare of theseunfortunate inhabitants to voluntary legislation. They have, therefore,required you, before you entered upon your duties, to take solemn oath
that you would foster and support institutions for the benefit of thoseinhabitants.”Messages of the Governors of Michigan, volume II, edited by George N.Fuller, 1926.Harry Best, wrote in his book The Deaf: Their Position in Society and theProvision for Their Education in the United States (1914) that TheMichigan School for the Deaf was the first school for the deaf to have theconstitutional provisions, which guarantees foster and support from thestate.Problem #1: The campus’s vibrant therapeutic language “sanctuary”will bedestroyed. (Similar to the protected linguistic “nests” found in one of TheNative American Language and Cultural Preservation Acts); MSD has more than150 years of precedence recognizing the Deaf Community’s special stewardshipover the 80-acre parcel allocated for academic and dormitory programming. Thevisually accessible language serves as a “conduit” for the very survival of DeafCulture, literature, history, political participation values and identity.The MSDAA, and key organizations working directly with the DeafCommunity are deeply offended and outraged. Groups were named asendorsing Bill 1558 without communicating directly with, nor ever securingwritten endorsements from a whole host of Community organizations.Sources with vested interest and historical ties directly to the school, itspupils, families, employees and supporting government organizationsfound no avenue available to review or have input into these presentations.There was no public review other than one regularly scheduled parentalmeeting. It must be noted that less than 20 parents attended unaware ofthe sale of the property and new school proposal. Central administrationprovided highlights and a very rudimentary description.The renovations and construction proposals do not all appear “Deaf-friendly.” However, articles appeared “in favor” via local papers and anational magazine touting the sale of the campus and promising a “State ofthe Art School of the Future.” (Amenities in the proposal continue to beeliminated as costs to implement double.) Review and vetting opportunitieswere limited and an implied threat permeated the community discussions.David Sanderson, State Administrative Manager for MDS informed alumnithat if we didn’t agree with the campus sale, the developers will back out.The State has no money to remodel MSD and MSD could be closed. If theproposal did not pass, the school would be closed. Parents, by contrast,received promises marketing a new and improved “school of the future.”What they didn’t know was the budget to create and maintain the newfacility would be at twice the cost to their home districts.
Problem #2: Passing Bill 1558 is fiscally irresponsible in a time ofeconomic hardship. MSD’s buildings are older but well maintained.We are a school of excellence. MSD’s buildings have passed safetyinspections and our children are thriving. Now is not the time to incurmore debt than we can manage.In this time of new leadership and ongoing economic hardship, the state islooking to maintain a cost effective educational program. Bill 1558 wouldresult in loss of enrollment. Bill 1558 would significantly raise the cost toour “sending “districts already struggling to do the “right thing” andfinancially punish them for allowing their children to attend this therapeuticlanguage environment that supports the cognitive,affective and socialdevelopment of our Deaf children. Our unique visual learning communityhas provided more than 150 years of educational excellence. Do not signBill 1558. Allow us to reintroduce a corrected version of this bill in the nextcongressional session. Provide us with an opportunity for open publichearings, active community participation and consensus building, as thelaw requires.Problem #3: Highly skilled communicators will be lost when jobs areeliminated.Signing employees are rare. Our auxiliary staff i.e. maintenance andcafeteria workers must also become highly skilled in communication tocreate a therapeutic language environment for the children to thrive.Employee layoffs will displace workers skilled in manual communicationdue to this sale. It takes years to master the language and fluency of ASL.It takes years to create an entire campus that is “communicationaccessible” for children, parents, teachers, dorm counselors, andadministrators, including maintenance and support staff. Job layoffs will bedevastating economically, but will have an unfairly disproportionatenegative impact on the Deaf Community thus denying critical access toeducation and resources.