To the Editor:
As I returned to school following our respected Pierre Sevigny’s funeral on Friday (retired vocational teacher, death notice Jan. 31 Times-News), it finally came together in my head why all these changes and rumors and plans have been so upsetting for many on our campus.
The West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind have been family for 140 years.
Perhaps we have not been so to the community, but to the students and staff who have existed together in this microcosm in Romney, we have supported each other, loved each other, fought at times like brothers and sisters, but we have always been the WVSDB family.
We have raised the children of West Virginia, who are deaf or hard-of-hearing and blind or low vision when they were not with their own parents.
In the funeral home, there were current students, former students/alumni, staff present and past, and friends.
All packed in there together were members from the School for the Blind, School for the Deaf and the Multisensory Unit.
They talked (signing is talking, too) visited, comforted and held each other as only family members do.
This feeling was palpable, because we are, or were, the WV Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. This is something that outsiders who see us only as a commodity for economic or political use will never understand.
Our hurt and mistrust comes from the breaking up of our family as we have known it.
I realize times change, and things change. But, to tear apart the family unit that has always been WVSDB is something that must not be taken lightly by the powers who be (“Officials consider moving West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Jan. 29 Times-News, Page 1A).
Many of us will be in mourning, and we may be that way for a very long time.
Because, you see, we held our students “Always Child First” long before you paid any attention to us.
Robin Dohrman Ayers, M.A.Ed.
Family and consumer sciences, daily living skills and ProStart teacher