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Protests at Texas School for the Deaf (1991)

Texas School for the Deaf Archives

Sound | 1991

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  •  Students protesting outside the Texas School for the Deaf 
  •  Outdoor rally run by student organizer Thomas Koch Jr. 
  •  School assemblies held in preparation of the student march to the State Capitol Building 
  •  TSD students marching downtown 
  •  Protest speeches from the steps of the State Capitol Building 
  •  Students meeting with a representative of Governor Ann Richards, from Texas Health and Human Services 
  •  Announcing Lindsey’s decision to resign from the TSD governing board 
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This edited home movie footage captures protests by Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) students in Austin between April 26 and 30, 1991. Students were demonstrating against the recent reappointment of Gayle Lindsey to the Governing Board of the Texas School for the Deaf. Lindsey had sent a letter to State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos objecting to legislation brought forth by deaf rights groups requiring the TSD Governing Board members to be majority hearing-impaired. In the letter, Lindsey said that the “list of qualified and competent deaf people” to fill the seats “will be exhausted in a very short period of time. The average national reading level for the deaf is the fourth grade and the math level is sixth grade. Interpreting state and federal statutes into local policy has been very, very difficult for the deaf board members to participate in.” At the time, three board members had to be hearing-impaired, three had to be parents of deaf children (Lindsey had a daughter attending TSD), and three had to have professional associations with the deaf community. After Lindsey’s letter had been publicly distributed, students from TSD began protesting, ultimately pressuring Lindsey to submit her resignation to Governor Ann Richards, a moment captured at the end of this footage.
Located in Austin, the Texas School for the Deaf is both a statewide and national leader in deaf education. The school first opened its doors in 1857 with only four male students. In 2009, the school housed over 500 students on campus, with many others in summer and short programs. TSD also offers outreach programs to families of students with hearing disabilities outside the Austin area.