Opinion: American Sign Language should be a required course

Opinion: American Sign Language should be a required course

Halee Alexander, Writer

American Sign Language (ASL) and deaf culture is an important part of modern times. Having a basic understanding of ASL and the deaf community would allow for easier communication to a wide range of people in the United States. 

The National Institute of Deafness and other Communication Disorders highlighted that one in eight Americans over the age of 12 has loss of hearing in both of their ears— which is equivalent to 13 percent or 30 million people. 

Educationdata.org posted in the fall of 2020, about 15.3 million students were enrolled in public high schools. A mandatory ASL class would allow that many more students to learn the basics of ASL and deaf culture. 

“The deaf community is not a small one, and if everyone is ignorant about the community’s way of communicating, history, and culture, then it will just further divide the deaf community from others,” junior Lucah White said. “Understanding deaf culture can help mend the stigma against the deaf community and bring everyone together, and that starts in schools with young people.” 

Teaching the young people of our community and generation to respect and understand the culture rich language could change our world completely.

“Taking ASL has allowed me to understand the importance for closed captioning, interpreters, and I have been able to teach others a little about the deaf community.” White said.

Noticing the little things, and being able to communicate with a large group of people is very important. Teaching younger people ASL in school would benefit the vast majority of the deaf community and enrich the lives of the hearing.