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August 8, 2005

See for yourself

From: Staunton News Leader - Staunton,VA,USA - Aug 8, 2005

We're glad that members of Virginia's Board of Education are finally going to do more than look at Staunton's Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind on paper. Board members will actually visit the Staunton campus Aug. 18.

Now that the chorus of voices lobbying to put VSDB somewhere else has grown from a murmur to a crescendo, it's good that the Board of Education will have a chance to see for themselves why the best thing to do from both a fiscally responsible standpoint and the good of Virginia's deaf, blind and multi-handicapped children is to consolidate VSDB in Staunton.

Charlottesville and other locales that are chiming up to put a new VSDB in their backyards are only seeing dollar signs. They ignore the fact that Staunton is best suited to keep VSDB for a number of reasons:

* A long-established, vibrant deaf and blind community comprised of successful adults who can and do provide VSDB students with shining examples of how to make it in a world that revolves around sighted and hearing people. Money can't buy role models.

* A safe, real-world training ground where deaf and blind students can interact with their sighted and hearing counterparts and learn to negotiate urban, suburban and rural life models. On-campus simulations can't duplicate that.

* A campus within walking distance of downtown Staunton, where there's plenty of shopping, dining and cultural attractions for VSDB students to enjoy during their off hours.

* We often cite the VSDB Staunton campus's beauty and historic background. There's good reason for that, as board members will see when they visit.

All these reasons and more — including cost, the least of the reasons — are why VSDB should remain in Staunton. We hope those facts will become evident to the Board of Education once they've toured our VSDB.

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