March 12, 2011

Sign Language Could Be Offered as Foreign Language in Virginia


Sign language could be offered as foreign language
March 2, 2011

Last winter, Del. Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, received a letter from a Loudoun Valley High School class seeking help.

Dawn Hitchens' American Sign Language students were looking for someone to sponsor legislation on their behalf that would recognize ASL as a foreign language in Virginia's high schools and universities. Bell jumped at the chance.

One year later, House Bill 1435, drafted in part by the students, is on its way to Gov. Bob McDonnell.

If signed by McDonnell, the legislation, which passed the House and the Senate by overwhelming majorities, would see Virginia join 35 other states in which sign language counts toward the fulfillment of foreign-language requirements at public high schools and state colleges and universities.

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