Oklahoma School for the Deaf set to begin school year

SULPHUR, Okla. (KXII) The Oklahoma School for the Deaf is set to begin its new school year on Monday after delaying the start for a week due to threats made over the phone earlier this month.

OSD got a phone call last on Aug. 16 which law enforcement said threatened "grave danger" to anyone associated with a specific OSD employee.

The spouse of the employee allegedly made negative comments about a transgender student at Achille public schools in Bryan county. Law enforcement believes that is what spurred the threats.

"The past couple weeks have been kind of hard for us because here in our little deaf world, over here on our campus, usually some of these things don't happen to us," Carolyne Paradiso, assistant to the superintendent, said.

After the first call, school shut down for a week.

Paradiso said the first shutdown cost more than $20,000 because of extra security, staffing and transportation.

That total is higher now due to a second call and brief shutdown.

"The state of Oklahoma owns us and operates us," Paradiso said. "So that was taxpayer dollars that had to be expended because of a threat that somebody made from out of state."

Paradiso said the delay caused some problems for parents like finding rides, scheduling daycare or finding more money to take care of kids.

"They understood that we took safety as our top priority and the protection of our kids was most important," Paradiso said. "And so, for the most part, they were all understanding."

Parent Michelle Spone agreed with decision.

"I think it was a good idea," Spone said. "That way us parents don't have to worry about our kids being here and something happening."

Parents also support the school's decision because of how their kids have grown.

Lacee Falanary's son started at OSD in preschool. He is now in sixth grade.

"Once we started here, even in preschool the first sixth months he was here, he started speaking better," Flanary said."He does sign language. He loves it here."

OSD serves more than 300 students across Oklahoma and has a year full of learning, athletics and competitions on the way.

"If you have any questions or concern about your kid with their hearing loss and you have doubts about this school, it's amazing here," Flanary said.

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