By John G. Carlton And Marianna Riley Of The Post-Dispatch
St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Angry parents withdrew at least five children from the Central Institute for the Deaf Wednesday to protest the dismissal of three leading educators at the school.
Clutching signs that read "Who will teach our kids to talk" and "What about our kids," almost 100 parents and teachers met in the school's auditorium for more than 90 minutes Wednesday afternoon to plan strategy in the wake of the dismissals.
Later, nearly 30 teachers staged a demonstration in support of Jean Moog, a popular teacher who has spent three decades at the nationally known school. Some teachers promised to stage a sickout today. "I'm willing to walk now," one educator said during the meeting as parents and teachers stood and cheered. The parents and teachers are concerned about the staff dismissals, which include Moog. They fear the moves signal a retreat from the institute's mission of educating profoundly deaf children in favor of an increased focus on research. School officials deny that. The school "will continue to focus on what we do best: Teaching deaf children to talk," its chief executive officer, Donald W. Nielsen, wrote in a letter to parents distributed at the close of classes Wednesday. At the heart of the dispute is the decision to dismiss Moog, the sc hool's director of deaf education for 30 years. Moog taught many of the school's teachers. She and another of the dismissed educators, Ann Geers, are credited with helping develop a test that predicts which deaf children can learn to speak. Geers was director of clinical services at the school. School officials said Geers would continue to work in the school's research department. …