The Jokes On Us!

jokerIn Melbourne this morning people who are Deaf or hard of hearing may have had a fancy to go to the movies. Of course those of us who can tolerate CaptiView, which number about two, are hardy souls. A friend of mine is one of those tolerant souls. She decided to check the websites to see which movies are captioned and which are not. Of course we know that it is unlikely that anything will be advertised as captioned, such is the incompetence of the cinemas. Nevertheless my friend checked hoping that some semblance of sanity had settled upon the world. To her surprise she found three movies with captions that were showing. But wait there is more!

Of course we know that when the Accessible Cinema Roll-Out was announced we were promised unheralded access to the movies. We should have known better. As always, people who are Deaf or hard of hearing are taken for mugs. Arguably cinema access  is worse than it was before the Accessible Cinema Roll-Out. My friend wanted to see a movie with captions, being deaf and all. She had a choice of movies that focused on – One Direction, Metallica and Robbie Williams. WTF comes to mind.

The irony that the accessible movies that are available to us deafies this weekend are all about music cannot be lost on anyone. Sure, I get that there are many deafies that enjoy music but for the majority of us, for obvious reasons, movies focusing on music would not be our first choice,. The sad thing is that this does not surprise me. People who are Deaf or hard of hearing in Australia are being treated like a joke. This is particularly so in South Australia.

I woke this morning to find a letter from the delightful CEO from Townsend House posted on Facebook. The CEO is without doubt persona-non-grata among the Deaf community in South Australia. This is understandable, particularly when she brands the people trying to save the beautiful 262 building as liars. Says Ms Curran of the many hundreds, possibly over a thousand, people who have lent their support to the Save 262 Campaign.  ….”Some people from DSRSA (Deaf Sports Recreation South Australia) and the Deaf community have behaved badly and told lies …”

Ms Curran went on to imply that because, some people had behaved badly and told lies, the efforts of Townsend House to try to lease the clubroom back for them from the prospective buyer fell through. Apparently the prospective buyers saw the Deaf community as rabble-rousers and wanted nothing to do with them. So effectively the loss of 262 for the Deaf community is now the Deaf communities fault. Last I looked the save 262 petition was touching on 1000 signatures. Shame on you, the 1000, you have lost 262 for the Deaf community – How could you? Yes, I jest.

Where did it all go wrong? If you want to know what promises were made to the Deaf community when the Townsend House and Deaf Society joined forces watch this video.

Having been promised that there were definitely no plans to sell 262 and having been promised utopia the Deaf community find themselves sold up the creek without a paddle. And for their pain they get labeled liars too.

Ms Curran claims that the Deaf Society was in such a bad way in 2006 that 262 was almost sold. Yet my friend found that in the 2006 Annual General Meeting minutes from the Royal South Australian Deaf Society, held on Friday 27th October 2006 at 7pm, the Treasurer’s report says “gross revenue has increased by ½ million”, and that “The Societies [sic] Balance sheet is strong”.

There are certainly lies happening but they are not coming from the Deaf community. What is worse, when Deaf community members ask perfectly legitimate questions or make perfectly legitimate comments on the Townsend House Facebook page, these questions and comments are being deleted. The authors of the comments or questions are then unceremoniously blocked.  Another example of Deaf people being treated like a joke.

Still in South Australia a Deaf teacher of the Deaf has been told she is risk. This is a long sorry saga but the gist of it is that a young Deaf woman graduated as a teacher of the Deaf. She, of course, fulfilled all the requirements of her course including prac-teaching. After she graduated she went to register as a teacher. To cut a long story short the Teachers Registration Board in South Australia told her she could work as a teacher but only if she was supervised at all times.

Quite rightly the young woman was having none of this. She appealed. She pointed out that having conditions on her registration that required her to be supervised at all times was unfair and limited her employment prospects. She pointed out that by having conditions and a flag on her Teacher Registration this made it more difficult for her to obtain work. More importantly she claimed that there were already several teachers of the deaf who were Deaf or hard of hearing working in South Australia. These people had no such conditions applied to them. So why her?

She had to front the Teacher Registration Board as part of her appeal. The Teachers Registration Board refused to budge. They insisted that the conditions had to remain. The young woman would not accept this and took the Teachers Registration Board to court for discrimination. To the surprise of no one, except the Teacher Registration Board,  she won. Commonsense, it seemed, was going to prevail. But no – The Teachers Registration Board appealed and the decision was reversed.

I have no words to describe the stupidity of the Teachers Registration Board. I have no words to describe the stupidity of the judge that reversed the decision. Deaf people and hard of hearing people the world over are working as teachers, nurses and even doctors. They work as lawyers too. They work as tradesmen, chefs and social workers. The world is their oyster. They do so competently and without restrictions.

All I can say is show me evidence of the risk. I can certainly show you evidence that there is none. The evidence is out there in the community where 100’s of people who are Deaf or hard of hearing are working as teachers successfully everyday and without restriction. Yet some know nothing judge has decided that this one Deaf person is a risk and therefore can only teach with restrictions. The judge has made this decision based on not one shred of evidence.

In making this decision the judge has put the future of all teachers who are Deaf or hard of hearing on the line. Now all teachers who are Deaf or hard of hearing in South Australia have to declare their deafness and declare all their support needs to the Teachers Registration Board. They are then at the mercy of the Teachers Registration Board to have restrictions placed on them as the Board sees fit.

And all this because some know nothing judge has made a decision that goes against all the evidence available to him/her. The decision has been made without a shred of evidence to show that teachers who are Deaf or hard of hearing are any sort of risk at all. How is that fair? The law, as they say, is an ass!

Yep, people who are Deaf or hard of hearing in Australia are being treated like a joke and it is no laughing matter!

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5 thoughts on “The Jokes On Us!

  1. Awesome I like this …. It’s out in the open and shame on yours taking us for a rude ride! I remember someone telling me that everything is good. That I shouldn’t see a glass half empty and basically be Todd to be grateful.

  2. What the heck? Being Deaf as laughing stock is unacceptable!!! We are human beings and we have every right to access everything like hearing people do and yet they are afraid of their levels with Deaf people!

  3. I find this really odd being both deaf and a UK citizen. Over here we hear many things about Australia and there is no mention of the sheer discrimination that is placed on deaf people. For me personally I find it hard to grasp that such discrimination is happening in this day in age. There is no excuse at all for a deaf person to be supervised. The teacher may require assistance, but I firmly believe that is down to the teacher and the school in question. I think its time south Australia woke up and realised that most people suffer some form of hearing problems in life all be it deafness, or gradual decline in hearing, and they should respect the fact, that regardless of the deafness of a person, they are still human. And furthermore, where a person in deaf, blind, or disabled in anyway, they always make up for it with serious talent.

  4. I also don’t understand how the judge didn’t use the case MALSSA won for a blind teacher a couple of years ago as a precedent… He is successfully teaching, has full Registration and is far more of a risk in terms of limitations on student supervision than a teacher who is Deaf. It’s just butt ignorance on the part of the Judge

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