American Sign Language course fights for added years

Abe Morales, Freelance Reporter

After a seven year battle to make American Sign Language (ASL) a world language course at LT, the ASL teacher is pushing to expand the curriculum to a full four year language, to further the students’ education.

“After two years of Sign Language, it’s equivalent to the vocabulary of a kindergartner,” American Sign Language teacher, Colleen Gibbons, said. “Another two years would add better communication skills. You cannot master any language after just two years.”

The fight to make ASL a world language at LT started in 2010 until it was finally approved three years ago. Now, the ASL curriculum faces a new challenge: expanding onto it’s two years and adding two more to make ASL a full four year language at LT. The board meeting that decides whether ASL III and IV will get approved will happen on October 21 at 7:30 pm. The lack of a third and fourth year of ASL has and is affecting over 180 students.

“I had 43 kids at the end of last year who were not graduating and needed a class to be there for them and it wasn’t,” Gibbons said. “I can’t even think about the possibility of there not being an [ASL III and IV] next year, because then I would have all of those kids who have nowhere to go.”

Some current ASL students also have to take another world language besides ASL due to the lack of a four year curriculum.

“I take Latin and ASL because for the colleges I want to apply for, I will need four years of the same language,” Loretta Walker ‘22 said. “It’s taken up a lot of space within my schedule and has put extra pressure on me because I have to know two languages now, even when I don’t really enjoy [Latin].”

With more students wanting to learn ASL every year, the fight for ASL III and IV will only grow bigger. The lack of a full four year curriculum has also caused people to not want to join the class because of their college requirements.

“I am not taking [Latin] for the benefit of myself, I’m taking it for the benefit of college,” Walker ‘22 said. “I want to be able to pursue my interest in sign and maybe use it in a career one day.”