Dormitories for Deaf children to be closed because of better transportation services, etc.

The dormitories established in the special support schools in Tokyo such as schools for the deaf and schools for handicapped children are gradually going to be closed.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to decrease "the number of nine dormitories to five by the end of 2015 fiscal year as the number of children who have a difficulty in going to school has decreased because of the development of transportation services".

The parents have request the continuing of dormitories, saying that "We want to keep the dormitory as a place for the growth of our child".

At 7:00pm, an energetic voice stating, "Thank you for providing us with the food," sounded in the dining room in the dormitory at the Tachikawa School for the Deaf in Tachikawa City, Tokyo. They, sitting opposite one another at the long table, reach supper. The supervising instructor called a boy who was eating in a hurry to eat slowly.

About 15 students both in the Junior High School and High School Departments have applied for the current academic year, and lived in the dormitory since then. They go home to spend the weekend with the family. The time for getting up, taking a bath, and study together is settled; The person on duty sets up a table for breakfast and supper. There are special events such as the Star Festival, the Doll Festival, too.

A certain supervising instructor saying about the children's growth, "By living with the peers in the dormitory, a lot of children acquire the life skills and communications." However, this dormitory has been decided to be closed in the end of next academic year.

Originally the dormitory was set up for those children who lived too far to attend the school. Also the request of parents who expected their children grow through a group living, one from the family getting public assistance due to the home circumstances were accepted.

However, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has made the "Tokyo Capital special support education promotion plan" in November, 2004. The officials cite the reason as the difficulty of going to school were solved because of the school bus and the development of transport links, and a lot of dormitories are occupied with less children as the capacity. The policy of closing several dormitories was come up with.

The parents and some supervising instructors repulsed as "deprived of the place of the growth of a child", and submitted about 13,500 signature to review the plan to the metropolitan assembly in December, 2008. It is scheduled to continue the signature activity, and to submit it to the metropolitan assembly again in the end of January.

Source: Sankei Shimbun, Jan. 8, 2009
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