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Bill would allow sign language to meet school foreign language requirement

By Rachel Ohm, Knoxville News Sentinel
summarized by Abby Wilson, Staff Writer

A new bill proposed in Tennessee would allow American Sign Language to be used to meet the foreign language requirement in Tennessee schools. Two Maryville College students, Molly Ridgeway, a nonverbal student, and her boyfriend, Joshua Anderson, constructed this bill.

Ridgeway is using her disability in a positive way to advocate for the individuals who do not have a voice. Her hope is to teach sign language one day, and this bill would help future educators like herself who have difficulties communicating verbally. The two students had success with the bill in the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature and decided to present the bill to state lawmakers. They fully believe this bill would not only benefit members of the deaf and hard of hearing community, but also students, teachers and businesses.

There are less than 50 schools nationwide that offer a bachelor's degree in American Sign Language, and Maryville College is one of them. This institution also developed the first undergraduate major in American Sign Language. The students have been inspired by their school and want more schools to follow in Maryville's footsteps.

You can read the full story here.



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