Deaf student thrives at Wando

Deaf student thrives at Wando
September 28 17:22 2017 Print This Article

Lowcountry Source published an article August 16 about Elizabeth Adamson. Elizabeth is deafwith only 20% vision due to Usher syndrome. She lives in Mt. Pleasant and completed 8th grade at Cario Middle School and had her schedule for 9th grade Honors classes at Wando High School. Charleston County School District sent a letter July 11,  informing Elizabeth’s mother Annela that she would be placed in a program for the deaf at School of the Arts. This letter was sent to an old address and not received by Adamson. On Monday, July 31 Elizabeth attended the JROTC orientation at Wando. On the evening of Wednesday, August 2 Adamson received a call from Wando Principal Sherry Eppelsheimer that Elizabeth was not to return to Wando.

Adamson did not agree with the placement of Elizabeth at the deaf program at School of the Arts. She knew Elizabeth was bright and should be in Honors classes. She was afraid the education provided by the deaf program would not be as challenging as the Honors classes at Wando. Also, Elizabeth wanted to participate in JROTC, which was not available at School of the Arts.

On August 16, the day before school was to begin, Charleston County School Board Chair Kate Darby got involved, and Elizabeth was allowed to start the year at Wando. Elizabeth was provided a sign language interpreter but not a teacher of the deaf like she had  at Cario.

On August 23 Susan Duffie, Elizabeth’s advocate, on advise from lawyer Larry Kobrovsky, filed a due process complaint with the South Carolina Department of Education. A resolution session between Charleston County School District and Adamson was held. It was agreed that Elizabeth would attend Wando and receive services from Pam Shaw, the teacher of the deaf, who had been her teacher for the last four years.

Elizabeth is thriving at Wando, and Adamson is thrilled with the teachers. Elizabeth has friends from Cario that are looking out for her. Annela stated, “The faculty and students have made the transition to high school exceptional.”  She also praised the JROTC program, noting that the juniors and seniors have guided Elizabeth.  She said, “They don’t treat her as handicapped.  They are very inclusive.”

When the Adamson family was evacuating for Hurricane Irma, Elizabeth was told she could take one thing with her that she wanted to keep in case the house was destroyed in the storm. She took a small bag that had her JROTC uniform.