GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (CNN/KHAS) - A controversy in Nebraska has gone viral. The parents of a 3-year-old boy say they've been asked to change their son's sign language name because it violates his school's weapons policy.
Hunter Spanjer and his parents Brian Spanjer and Morgan Hurt use Signing Exact English (SEE). They sign Hunter's name by crossing the first two fingers. Hunter has been a part of the Grand Island Early Intervention Program since he was about six months old and attends preschool at the Early Learning Center.
"About two weeks ago we had been in contact with his early intervention home visitor and she had asked us if we would change his name. They felt like his name was inappropriate or his name sign," said Brian Spanjer. "I asked her if there is a school policy that we are in violation of. What I was referred to, replied to with was 'well technically it's a violation of our weapons policy.' I was floored."
But the Grand Island Public School District says they are not requiring any student to change how his or her name is signed.
"Grand Island Public Schools has not changed the sign language name nor requested any student to change their sign language name," said Jack Sheard with Grand Island Public Schools.
"Actually I think the meaning of that statement was they're not requiring him to change his name. He's allowed to finger spell his name. They just don't want him using his name sign in the schools," said Brian.
"They want us to modify it. They want us to modify it to the ASL [American Sign Language] sign. We are SEE, this is what we've known. I think it'd be a big difference. It'd be like telling me to change my name because it's not spelled the right way," said Morgan Hurt.
The school district says they've been receiving a wave of phone calls and e-mails about the case.
"We're angry at the situation, not the individuals. I'm sure everybody in this is well intentioned, even if they may be misguided," said Brian.
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