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By David Lippman

People from around the state are coming to town this weekend to speak up for students who often cannot speak up for themselves.

Deaf children are supposed to have the same opportunities as anyone else, but experts say that is often not the case.

"For instance, maybe they had an interpreter, but they weren't qualified, they weren't a qualified interpreter," mentioned Brynn Millet, program manager at Deaf Focus. "Or they have people, educators that are trying to help them, but they don't have the appropriate education, themselves."

Louisiana was one of the first states to pass a Deaf Child's Bill of Rights, designed to make sure they got the help they need in school.

"That was 22 years ago," Millet stated. "And so, now we see the need to strengthen the bill."

"The language in it is not strong enough to help the deaf children get the services that they really need," added Victoria Flis, a counselor at Deaf Focus.

Louisiana School for the Deaf is equipped with staff and resources to help students with hearing impairments, but some parents would prefer their children go to mainstream schools to get more experience being around hearing people. If those schools do not have teachers or aides able to work with them, even smart children will fall behind.

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