BC-HI--Deaf Students-Lawsuit,1st Ld-Writethru/304
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Maui woman sues DOE for lack of deaf services for students
HONOLULU (AP) — A Maui parent has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education, claiming that the department is incapable of providing the deaf and hard-of-hearing services that her daughter needs at school.
The suit filed by Coty Luke last month calls on the DOE to offer specialized learning programs for students like her 4-year-old daughter, Taysia-Lee, who is near deaf and uses implants so she can hear.
Luke said the DOE lacks an "oral system" for students, and she wants her daughter to be able to speak without using sign language, Hawaii News Now reports (http://bit.ly/1ZZtMnA).
"She was so talkative and so oral before that to us, cochlear implant was the only thing, the only choice to make. We wanted her to hear the world, so we did that and it was the best decision we ever made," Luke said.
Taysia-Lee is preparing to enter kindergarten, and her mom says that the DOE on Maui does not offer the learning program that she believes will help a child with cochlear implants.
The DOE declined to comment on the case, but said the programs offered on Maui are in line with educational standards.
Luke disagrees and wants the state the state to expand its services for her daughter and other children like her.
"She didn't ask to be this way. And they do have for example an ASL teacher, American Sign Language teacher, and there's kids in that program, and I'm thinking, if we chose that mode, she'd have a teacher," Luke said.
There are about 300 deaf and hard-of-hearing students in Hawaii public schools. The DOE said it offers specialized programs that cater to each child's specific needs.