• Some teachers failing to meet ASL requirements at Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind

    By: Michael Yoshida , Action News Jax


    Classes at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine resumed Monday, but Action News Jax has learned a recent review found not all employees had the required American Sign Language skills.

    Having taught students like Ray Charles, the school has made a name for itself.

    “I think it’s a good school,” neighbor Herbert Simmons said.

    “It’s a great school,” neighbor Zoe McDaniel said.

    It's a reputation that makes the results of a recent report that much more surprising.

    During a follow-up audit, the Florida Auditor General found that employees weren't always timely in achieving American Sign Language (ASL) skill levels.

    “I think that’s a little insane,” McDaniel said.

    The audit said in a review of the 2015-2016 academic year, 82 employees had not met their required ASL skill level. Forty-one of the employees had worked for the school more than four years, 21 more than 10 years and three were teachers required to have advanced ASL skills to effectively communicate with deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

    “Wow, that’s amazing,” Simmons said.

    The Auditor General suggested policy changes to ensure employees get the required training.

    In response to the audit, the school acknowledged the finding and said it has, “taken steps to ensure that required ASL skill levels are attained within time limits set in the policy. The School’s policy has since been revised to provide greater clarity and set new, more stringent time limits for attaining the required levels …”

    “So then there should be some follow-up to make sure that happens,” neighbor James Pennington said.

    “It’s really well-known, it’s a respectable school and they should keep the standard high,” McDaniel said.

    Click here for the full audit and the school’s response.

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