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Deaf Hunger Striker Protesting Lack of ASL at Michigan School for Deaf

As we post this on Monday, Nov. 28, a former instructor at the Michigan School for the Deaf is in the 8th day of his hunger strike. Ryan Commerson's individual act of protest against a school that he says refuses to offer bilingual education in American Sign Language as well as English is drawing attention from around the country. Commerson's protest, which has widespread student support, is also calling for the hiring of a deaf principal and employing staff members who are fluent American Sign Language.

From the Flint (MI) Journal:

On Monday, 43 out of 160 MSD students were suspended for leaving school to join Commerson, 30. The suspensions end next week.

There also was a fight between some parents coming to pick up their suspended students from school Monday, but there were no serious injuries.

The blog www.starvingforaccess.blog.com has been started to chronicle the protest and to garner support for the reforms Commerson is calling for.

From the blog:

Ryan continues to sit in outside all day. He still has not eaten and has lost 15 pounds to date.

Today was warmer than the last few days, but it rained. Tomorrow, there will be a meeting with Jeremy Hughes, from the Deparment of Education. John Austin, the Vice President of the State Board of Education has been a huge assistance in arranging the meeting. We are grateful to him for all of his hard work through the holidays.

Ryan reports struggling with extreme hunger pains that are more intense and frequent. He is very tempted to eat, but has not done so. He is so tired....

Visit the blog to support Ryan and Deaf bilingual education at www.starvingforaccess.blog.com