Advocates for Missouri School for the Deaf oppose new jail plan

9 months 1 day 4 hours ago Friday, April 26 2019 Apr 26, 2019 Friday, April 26, 2019 10:51:00 AM CDT April 26, 2019 in News
By: Austin Walker, KOMU 8 Reporter

FULTON - A Facebook post turned into a real-life movement in Fulton. Maddy Brown and Abigail Horton are two advocates for the mid-Missouri deaf community and want to inform people on the current injustices happening in the community.

"I can't speak for the deaf community," Brown said. "I don't represent the deaf community, I am just a person that has been so blessed to be accepted with open arms."

Brown posted a video on her Facebook profile explaining the problems the deaf community is facing. In addition, she invited members of the hearing and non-hearing community to a public meeting where people were free to share opinions and stories.

The current Callaway County Jail doesn't meet federal and state requirements and poses a safety concern for the employees, inmates, as well as the rest of the community. Its solution is to move the jail.

Rice Hall on the campus of Missouri School for the Deaf (MSD) has been vacant since 2004 and the county is looking into moving the jail to this location because it seemed to be the cheapest option.

With further research, the county's claim of saving millions of dollars was struck down and the savings expected weren't as much as intended. Even though the movement of the jail is looking less likely, members of the community are outraged by the possibility. 

Dave Eaker, a member of the deaf community and alumni of the Missouri School for the Deaf, attended the meeting said he believes enrollment at the Missouri School for the Deaf would continue to drop, closing the school in the future.

Eaker said, "So if they come to school and see a prison next door, what are they going to think? Those parents are going to say, no way am I sending my child there."

Horton said, to the deaf community, the Missouri School for the Deaf is more than just a place to get an education.

"This is a place where a lot of people found their true identity both linguistically and as an individual," Horton said.

Brown emphasized the deaf community is not looking for help, but support.

"They are already strong enough," Brown said. "They are already loud, and brave, and honest. they don't need a hero to save them. But everyone could use support in anything, and we are here to give that." 

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