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DAVIE TEACHER INTRODUCES STUDENTS TO SIGN LANGUAGE

Teri Morgan stops by the Media Center at Davie County High School with a visitor when the daily announcements are read over the PA system. Then comes the Pledge of Allegiance. Morgan doesn’t recite it aloud. The teacher’s fingers and arms begin to move quickly, not frantically, but purposefully. She is “signing” the pledge using American Sign Language. Morgan then walks to her classroom, where she teaches ASL I and ASL II to students under a unique arrangement.

Davie High is one of a handful of high schools in the state where American Sign Language can be taken to satisfy a foreign language requirement toward earning a diploma. The class can also be used as an elective. Morgan said a few high schools in the Cary and Charlotte areas are the only other places ASL is taught as a foreign language. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools does not offer any ASL classes, according to Theo Helm, a school spokesman.

ASL is an approved language by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. More than 150 U.S. universities accept ASL, including the UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington and Gardner-Webb.