Deaf Preschooler Hunter Spanjer May Change Name Because Sign Resembles Weapons

Hunter Spanjer demonstrates the sign for his name. (Photo: 10/11)

A deaf 3-year-old from Nebraska is being asked by the school district to change his name, his family alleges, because the way he refers to himself in sign language resembles “weapons.”

Apparently the Grand Island school district has a policy that prevents students from bringing “any instrument…that looks like a weapon” to school, and now hands can be considered “instruments.”

“Anybody that I have talked to thinks this is absolutely ridiculous. This is not threatening in any way,” Hunter Spanjer’s grandmother Janet Logue said.

Brian Spanjer, the boy’s father, added: “It’s a symbol. It’s an actual sign, a registered sign, through S.E.E. [Signing Exact English]”

Hunter signs his name by crossing his middle and index fingers– leaving his thumbs up– and then wagging his hands.

Watch an interview with the family, and a demonstration of the gesture:

The school is claiming the entire matter is a “misunderstanding” — but still wants Hunter to change his name.

Administrators say the issue has nothing to do with guns or weapons, just that the gesture is “not an appropriate thing to do in school.”

School spokesman Jack Sheard told the New York Daily News that rather than the condensed sign he uses now, they want him to spell out his name, letter by letter.

“We want to do what is best for every student in our district, and we care more about that than everything else,” Sheard remarked. “We are working with the parents to find the best solution we can.”

Apparently, local residents are not pleased with the school district.

Grand Islander Dana Schwieger said: “It’s his name…It’s not like he’s going to bring a gun to school when he’s 3-years old.”

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