What could adding an ASL class mean for Butler students?


Graphic by Carlos Cornieles.

Taylor Wall, Features Writer

Here at Butler Traditional High School, we have two language classes: Spanish and French. We should expand our variety, starting with ASL.

ASL is an abbreviation for American Sign Language, which is used with grammar that differs from English and is expressed by movements of the hands and face.

ASL originated in the early 19th century in the American School for the Deaf (ASD) in West Hartford, Connecticut. Since then, ASL use has been propagated widely by schools for the deaf and deaf community organizations.

Mrs. Postle (formerly known as Ms. Dermody) believes the addition of an ASL class would benefit the students at Butler:

“I think students would welcome the opportunity to be able to study a language other than Spanish or French. I think they would really enjoy having more of a variety.  A lot of students don’t want to take French or Spanish, so they are just not motivated to do well in the classes. But, perhaps, when they hear ASL, they may think, “Oh, that’s cool!” It’s a different type of language to learn because you are using your hands. It’s something that they haven’t been exposed to before. ”

ASL interpreters are few and far between, leading to a wealth of employment opportunities for those who become fluent in the language.

Offering an ASL class would not only give students a third option for a language class, it would also open up job opportunities and help them in situations throughout life.

There are only 199 nationally certified deaf interpreters in the entire US. This is a critical shortage of resources. If students decide to pursue ASL throughout high school and then into college, they could be set up for an excellent career opportunity. The salaries of American Sign Language Interpreters in the US ranges from $16,217 to $430,462.

Butler could be one of not many schools in the JCPS district to offer ASL classes to students. Adding an ASL class could even open the path to add other language classes as well, such as Mandarin, Latin, German, and many more.

Students would be more interested because they would have a wider variety of choices when it came to the language they studied.