Angry Parents Keep Deaf Students Home

Article excerpt

The number of students in classes at the Central Institute for the Deaf continued to drop Monday as parents protested the dismissal last week of three popular teachers. Meanwhile, top administrators tried to allay parents' concerns through meetings on Sunday and Monday.

Fourteen of the school's 104 students went to school Monday, said Central Institute spokeswoman Robin Feder, vice president of development.

The personnel changes are part of a reorganization, said Feder, who would not elaborate. Parents and teachers are concerned that the changes mean the Central Institute will shift its priorities to increased research instead of teaching deaf children how to talk. The school denies that. It "will continue to focus on what we do best: teaching deaf children to talk," Donald Nielsen, the school's chief executive officer, wrote in a letter to parents last week. Last week, all 33 teachers voted to hold classes this week off campus at an undisclosed site. Over the weekend, they reversed their plans and returned to school, at 818 South Euclid Avenue, because of advice from a lawyer, said Betsy Brooks, a spokeswoman for the teachers. All but a handful showed up at work Monday, Feder said. The teachers were to meet again Monday night to decide on their course for the rest of the week. …