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January 14, 2004

Judge rules in favor of Board's deaf student policy

From: Gonzales Ascension Citizen, LA - Jan 14 2004

By NEWS STAFF The Ascension Citizen

A U.S. District Judge ruled last week that the Ascension Parish School Board's policy of requiring all deaf students to attend a central school did not violate the law.

Judge Ralph Tyson's opinion said the School Board did not violate the law when it told the parents of Buddy Veazey he could not attend his neighborhood school because centralized services were provided at another school.

"We have always said that these students can get the best education at a centralized location," said Superintendent Robert Clouatre.

Veazey's parents, John and Tonya Veazey of Prairieville, sued the School Board in 1998 to keep their son, who was in the third grade at that time, in his neighborhood school. They objected to the Board's policy of clustering all elementary deaf students at Gonzales Primary.

The Veazeys said they plan to appeal the case.

Clouatre said the school system has no plans to move Veazey, who is now a freshman at Dutchtown High School, this year. He said a decision will be made before the next school year.

Buddy Veazey was born deaf but now uses a cochlear implant that provides him some hearing ability. A cued-speech translator is provided by the school board at an estimated cost of $11,000.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals made a similar ruling this past summer concerning another deaf student when it overturned a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Brady.

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