School Says Deaf Boy’s Name Sign Looks Too Much Like A Gun


By Michael Miller

You can’t make this stuff up. The good news: 3-year-old Hunter Spanjer, who is deaf, knows how to sign his name. The bad news: His school says his hand sign looks too much like a gun and has asked him to change it.

The school, in Grand Island, Nebraska, is forcing Hunter to change the way he signs his name, because they say his gestures violate their weapons policy. Lunacy reigns supreme, America.

Hunter’s personalized name sign is a registered sign with Signing Exact English – a modified form of American Sign Language – and involves extended index fingers that the district says resembles a gun. “We are working with the parents to come to the best solution we can for the child,” said Jack Sheard, Grand Island Public Schools spokesperson. Really, Jack? I have a suggestion: Take your heads out of your butts and allow him to use the registered sign for his name. Problem solved.

As reported by, Grand Island’s “Weapons in Schools” Board Policy 8470 forbids “any instrument…that looks like a weapon.” But a three year-old’s hands? Here’s Hunter’s dad, Brian:

“He’s deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy. It’s a symbol. It’s an actual sign, a registered sign, through S.E.E.”

Hunter’s parents say that by Monday, lawyers from the National Association of the Deaf are likely to weigh in for Hunter’s right to sign his own name.

Despite whatever rules and regulations may exist, some Grand Islanders said they don’t think it’s right to make a three year-old change the way he says his name.

“It’s his name. It’s not like he’s going to bring a gun to school when he’s three years old,” commented Dana Schwieger.

“I find it very difficult to believe that the sign language that shows his name resembles a gun in any way would even enter a child’s mind,” said Fredda Bartenbach.

First, an 8-year-old boy in Baltimore is suspended from school for allegedly chewing his Pop-Tart into the shape of a handgun. Then, a 6-year-old Massachusetts boy is forced to apologize for “traumatizing” his schoolmates on the bus by brandishing a tiny – the size of a quarter – Lego-figure gun. And now, a 3-year-old deaf child may be forced to change the only sign he knows for his name.

All because of what? Overreaction? Politically correctness? Mass hysteria among school administrators or just downright stupidity? Whatever the reason, does it really matter? The bottom line is this: This nonsense is out of control. Period. Get a grip, people.

I wonder if the sign for “get a grip” looks like an “assault” rifle


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