Sign Language in Schools?

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I love you in Sign Language

1.5 billion people on this earth have some form of hearing impairment, and statistically, eight out of 100.000 people are born mute. Those people have to rely on sign language in their daily lives. Still, sign language is rarely part of the school curriculum. With equality being one of the main principles of democracy, I think it is crucial to include deaf and mute people by teaching sign language in school.

Many members of the deaf-mute community feel excluded by the majority of speaking people. Not being able to hear about the latest gossip or not getting the jokes everybody is laughing about can damage a child's or a human's mental health. Furthermore, many deaf and mute people experience bullying or loneliness because their classmates completely ignore them. This constant feeling of exclusion could lead to depression and lonely childhood. Even later in their lives, deaf and mute people have huge disadvantages in, for example, their job search or love life.

The 2016 movie "A Silent Voice" portraits the struggles of growing up deaf and presents the consequences of intense bullying and exclusion. The movie is definitely worth the 2 hours. Besides showing the effects on the victim, the film also shows how fast the bully can become a victim. "A Silent Voice" eventually ends with a happy ending, which is not always the case. Around 19% of the deaf population suffer from depression, whereas only 6% of the general world population suffer from depression. This difference also mirrors the suicide rate. Although there are no reliable studies addressing suicide specifically among deaf people, researchers suggest, following other statistics, like the depression rate among deaf people, that people with hearing impairments are more likely to developed suicidal tendencies than people with average hearing.

As the social model of disability suggests, disabilities and impairments do not restrict people in any way, but society does. Thus, making sign language part of everyone's basic education would take down a huge social barrier for deaf people.

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