On September 27, 2021, A group of Deaf students stood outside Atlanta Area School for the Deaf protesting for a superintendent who should know and understand American Sign Language and Deaf culture. The greater Atlanta Deaf community is asking that Kenney Moore, the State Schools Director, and anyone else in charge of leadership decisions come and pay attention to their concerns. Jethro Woddall from Sign1News, reported on Monday, September 27, 2021 about the mass protest. #deafsuperintendentnowat
On October 8, 2021, Dr Kenney Moore sent a letter to the AASD community to inform them that Mrs. Lisa Buckner had made the decision to step down as AASD Superintendent, effective today. On Monday, October 11, 2021, Mrs. Vanessa Robisch will serve as the interim AASD Superintendent. The recruitment of process will begin and will also include the opportunity for students, faculty and staff along with parents to share their feedback.
A new superintendent, Lisa Buckner had been appointed and students were upset because she is not Deaf nor does she understand the Deaf community. The students are to meet with a representative from the Georgia Department of Education to request that the current superintendent be removed. There were comments from student leaders in the same video Jordan began by discussing the Department of Education being responsible for John Serrano, the former Superintendent, leaving. He shared that students miss Serrano because of his fantastic rapport with students.
The new superintendent had come in and does not know any sign, has to use an interpreter to communicate with students. They do not feel like she is able to represent them well. There are also statements of oppression on the BIPOC/POC students on campus.
On Facebook before the protest event began, Trinity Arreola, the president of Latinx Student Union (LSU), posted on her Facebook asking for people to share information about the protest.
“Hello everyone, my name is Trinity Arreola. I’m 18 years old and senior. Today 8am, we will protest at Atlanta Area School for the Deaf. (AASD) The reasons why we decided to protest because of we want to replacement superintendent hearing to Deaf. Also, The Department of Education (DOE) audism on BIPOC/POC deaf students. We need your help to share this to all USA to know what is going on with my school. Also, we need your support! Please share this!!!! THANK YOU! “ (Trinity Arreola)
Students also believe that the decision by the Department of Education was rushed and that the community was not involved in the search. Everybody was blindsided including the staff, faculty, and students. Sign1News did reach out to AASD’s administrators and heard nothing back.
Disabled Feminist, a page on Facebook, did a shout out, “Shout out to the Deaf students at Atlanta Area School for the Deaf for mass protesting the recent selection of a hearing, non-signing candidate for superintendent. You deserve to have a leader who understands your culture and knows sign language.” (https://www.facebook.com/disabledfeminism – Disabled Feminism)
One of the comments hit it right on the nose: “…it’s like we learned nothing from DPN (Facepalm emoji) proud of the AASD students for the powerful advocacy work they are putting into action!” (https://www.facebook.com/lex.fernander?comment_id=Y29tbWVudDoxMDAyMjk0OTUzNjY0MDU3XzEwMDI0MjgwMjAzMTc0MTc%3D – Alexis Newman)
This is a developing story and Deaf Vee will update as more information is shared.