Boy's parents, Nebraska school district at odds over 'gun' sign for name

Hunter Spanjer's parents say the preschooler has been asked to stop signing his name because it resembles a gun, which is against policy

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A 3-year-old deaf student's name is causing controversy at a Nebraska school district.

Hunter Spanjer uses a personalized Signing Exact English hand sign to gesture his name that resembles a gun.

The name combines the symbol for the letter h for hunt, the thumb down along index and middle fingers extended together and waved, with the letter r, crossing the two fingers, the family explained to NBC News.

The Grand Island Public Schools district has a policy forbidding children from bringing any instrument that looks like a weapon to school. Hunter's parents say the school district wants Hunter to use a different sign because the current one violates the policy.

They've started a Facebook page titled "Let this Deaf Child Keep His Name Sign" and posted a letter from the Nebraska ACLU that asked the school district to reconsider its policy.

However, the school district says it never asked Hunter to stop signing his name.

"Grand Island Public Schools has not changed the sign language name of any student, nor is it requiring any student to change how his or her name is signed," district spokesman Jack Sheard said in a prepared statement. "The school district teaches American Sign Language ("ASL") for students with hearing impairments. ASL is recommended by the Nebraska Department of Education and is widely used in the United States. The sign language techniques taught in the school district are consistent with the standards of the Nebraska Department of Education and ASL. ... Our mission remains: Every Student, Every Day, a Success!"

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