ASL As A Silent Class


ASL, aka American Sign Language, is a way to communicate with others without verbalization. There are only two foreign language classes taught at John W. North, which are Chinese and Spanish. As of now, American Sign Language is just a club, which introduces the idea that it would be a good concept for educating students in a class setting.

After asking the students of North, it appears many students are advocates of making ASL a language class. According to the eLearning industry, ASL is one of the easiest languages to learn and because of that, students would be more encouraged to memorize this language and be excited to use their knowledge to communicate with hard-of-hearing and deaf individuals.

“Knowing ASL is something that you carry with you for life and it’s a skill that only helps you. We live in Riverside where there is a school for the deaf just ten minutes away so there will always be a deaf person close by and sometimes they need help. The class can help them in the future by exposing them to the language and the culture. I am a CODA [child of a deaf adult] and I think it’s cool when people want to learn ASL. I always try to encourage my friends to join the club because knowing even the basics of ASL could eventually help you in the real world” declared sophomore Stefanny Hernandez, the co-founder of the ASL club at North High School 

  Offering ASL courses at North would not only expand students’ knowledge but also promote awareness of the deaf culture. It would also help to loosen the academic barrier that exists between the hearing and those who are hearing or voice impaired. Many parents of the students that attend North are a part of the deaf community and need an interpreter for parent-teacher conferences or school meetings. If there was an ASL class, those parents could be more included in their child’s academic lives and won’t struggle with finding a way to communicate. Not only that but it will also widen the connection between parent and child. 

“So my family isn’t a part of the deaf community. I started learning ASL through my best friend. His parents are deaf and I was always over at his house. His parents taught me, whilst teaching myself as well I began using it more often around my best friend or his family,” said senior Leilani Lepe, the president of the ASL club, who began it to spread awareness on the deaf culture.

Teaching this language can improve students’ English skills because sign language is English portrayed visually. It helps with being more aware and using their other senses. It also opens the door to more career opportunities and provides a new perspective on life. 

If ASL became a class, students would have more time to learn this way of living. “I’m not directly in the ASL club but my friend is and I know that she gets upset at the fact it’s on Thursday and lunch break because it’s like 25 minutes per meeting and she gets lunch which has a long line so when she gets there, it isn’t enough time to learn anything,” said sophomore Melody Gaza.

According to the ASL club’s knowledge, there aren’t enough certified teachers in the district to educate students on ASL. Even if North doesn’t get a new ASL class today or later in the future, it would be a good class concept for the school to keep in mind because it provides consistency and students would be able to grip ASL faster than at lunch where people mainly want to relax and hang out with friends before another lecture. “I’m in the ASL club and it is beneficial and very useful for the students. I think the school could maybe consider making it an elective class so they won’t have to hire a lot of teachers as to say if it was a language one perhaps maybe 1 or 2,” said junior Jacqueline Sepulveda.

ASL is a way to connect with different people around campus and outside of it, either with their own family experiences or with their friends, or just helping a stranger. Making ASl a class at John W North high school will impact the student body’s lives in major ways.