CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Schools offer many electives for students: art, music, theater and more. There are some courses that are required, though, like English, science, math, history and even Spanish.
Yes, Spanish. For a student in high school to receive his or her diploma, a foreign language is imperative.
Some schools have a larger variety of foreign language courses students can sign up for, such as French, German and Latin. However, some students say that another choice should be offered too: sign language.
"Sign language is like any other form of speech, except you speak with your hands instead of your mouth. To me, it is just as necessary as Spanish or French, if not more," said Scott High School freshman Alyssa Smith.
Smith is a member of the school's Partners Club, which helps special needs students socialize around school. She joined at the beginning of the year and is already showing eruditeness from watching the club's deaf and mute members.
Sign language can be of vital importance to anyone who wishes to obtain an occupation in the fields of education, government, health, recreation, social services and therapy. It is also frequently used in conference and courtroom settings.
Some jobs don't require very much sign language or any at all, but it is still an important skill. How wonderful would it be to talk to someone who can't speak or hear? It would make that person feel more invited, more respected.
The communication barrier is a problem for some students at Scott. Freshman Katie Clendenen said, "When some of my best friends bring their [deaf or mute] partner to me, I feel like I'm just waving and smiling the whole time due to my lack of knowledge in the art of signing."
Other students at Scott feel the same. They believe creating a sign language class will decrease these awkward moments between partner and helper.