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SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF
[Authorized: Constitution, Article IX, Section 12; NDCC Chapter 25-07-01]

The School for the Deaf was created by the North Dakota State Constitution (Article IX, Section 12) and established in 1890 (S. L. 1890, Ch. 161) at Devils Lake as a residential facility. The purpose of the School was to provide special elementary and secondary education for hearing impaired children in North Dakota. Originally known as the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, the School was governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of three members appointed by the Governor with consent of the Senate for two-year terms. The Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor served as ex-officio members. In 1891 the composition of the Board of Trustees changed to consist of five members, all appointed for two years by the Governor with consent of the Senate (S. L.1891, Ch. 133). In 1893 the Legislature replaced the word Asylum with the word School at the request of the first superintendent Anson R. Spear. It was to be known and designated as the School for the Deaf of North Dakota (S. L.1893, Ch. 123). In the 1970s the School became the North Dakota School for the Deaf [NDCC 25-07-01] and in 2005 it was named School for the Deaf (S. L. 2005, Ch. 251).

Administration of the School for the Deaf was transferred to and from a variety of state agencies. The Board of Control assumed responsibility for the School from 1911 to 1919 (S. L. 1911, Ch. 62), the Board of Administration controlled the School from 1919 to 1969 (S. L. 1919, Ch. 71), and the Director of Institutions received authority to govern the School in 1969 (S. L. 1969, Ch. 440). Legislation in 1989 authorized the Superintendent of Public Instruction (S. L. 1989, Ch. 239) to appoint the superintendent, and to establish a budget and reporting structure, and to select the staff for the School. Since 1991 the law has allowed for the superintendent of the School for the Deaf to also serve as superintendent of the School for the Blind (S. L. 1991, Ch. 296, Ch. 297).  

Admission to the School required that a student must be hearing impaired to the extent that suitable progress could not be attained in a public school (S. L. 1971, Ch. 162). Residents of the state were entitled to a free education as well as free transportation. In 2005 out of state students were admitted but the tuition was required in advance. However, admittance could not come at the exclusion of a resident of the state (S. L. 2005, Ch. 251).
 
The first vocation taught was printing and on December 5, 1891 the school published the first edition of its own newspaper called The North Dakota Banner. Legislation in 1971 (S. L. 1971, Ch. 274) required the superintendent of the School to offer educational programs that would give deaf students a usable and understandable language and enable them to learn new ideas, to communicate with others, and understand printed material. The superintendent was required to know sign language and all teaching and training methods available for use in educating the deaf. Legislation required that every public school superintendent, physician, ophthalmologist, oculist, optometrist, audiologist, nurse, clinic, hospital, and social and welfare agency notify the superintendent of the School of anyone between the ages of birth and twenty-one with a hearing impairment. Home intervention programs for the hearing impaired under the age of five began in 1977 (S. L. 1977, Ch. 211). A law in 1981, (S. L. 1981, Ch. 223) required schools to provide individualized programs for all hearing impaired students. Each student was entitled to individualized coursework and training through academic programs, independent living skills, and recreation and leisure activity (S. L. 1991, Ch. 297; S.L. 2005, Ch. 251). The School also served as a resource and referral center for all ages of the hearing impaired (S. L. 2005, Ch. 251).

CHRONOLOGY
1889       Created by the Constitution in 1889 (Article IX, Section 12).

1890       Established by the first Legislative Assembly and managed by a three person Board. The Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction were ex-officio members. The Asylum was located in Ramsey County on land north of the heart of Devils Lake (S. L. 1890, Ch.            161).

1891       The Board increased to five members and the Governor and Superintendent of Public Instruction no longer served as ex-officio members (S. L. 1891, Ch. 133).

1893       At the request of the first superintendent, Anson R. Spear, the Legislature replaced the word Asylum with the word School (S. L. 1893, Ch. 123).

1911       The Board of Control was created to assume management and administration of the School (S. L. 1911, Ch. 62).

1919       The Board of Control was replaced by the Board of Administration (S. L. 1919, Ch. 71).

1969       Control of the School for the Deaf was transferred to the Director of Institutions (S. L. 1969, Ch. 440).                                                                                   

1971       Hearing impaired students who did not progress suitably in a public school qualified for enrollment in the School for the Deaf and attended free of charge (S. L. 1971, Ch. 162).  A new law required that every public school superintendent, physician, oculist, optometrist, audiologist, nurse, clinic, hospital, and social and welfare agency notify the superintendent of the School with names of the hearing impaired from birth to age twenty-one (S. L. 1971, Ch. 273). The superintendent of the School for the Deaf was required to be knowledgeable about all methods of learning in the field of education for the deaf. Special programs were designed especially for hearing impaired students (S. L. 1971, Ch. 274).

1977       The Home Intervention Program was established as an outreach program of the School (S. L. 1977, Ch. 241).

1979       The School superintendent determined the age required for admission. Free transportation to the School was provided for students (S. L. 1979, Ch. 336).

1981       The School for the Deaf provided an individualized educational and training program for each student (S. L. 1981, Ch. 223).

1985       State transportation guidelines for the public schools were adapted by the Legislature to fit the needs of the students of the School for the Deaf (S. L. 1985, Ch. 313).

1987       Legislation required that each student be given an individualized quality education at the most economical rate (S. L. 1987, Ch. 328).

1989       The Superintendent of Public Instruction was authorized to replace the Director of Institutions in appointing the superintendent and administering the other duties relating to  the School (S. L. 1989, Ch. 239).

1991       The School served hearing impaired children from birth through age twenty-one.  Legislation allowed the superintendent of School for the Deaf to also serve as the superintendent for the School for the Blind (S. L. 1991, Ch. 297).

2003       The term career and technical training replaced vocational training. Legislation provided for a tuition free education to North Dakota residents at the School for the Deaf. Out of state students had to pay in advance (S. L. 2003, Ch. 138).

2005       The School provided education and training for students at all ages up to the age of twenty-one and offered resources and referrals for all hearing impaired. The School also provided home instruction and intervention for parents of the hearing impaired (S. L. 2005, Ch. 251).

SERIES
31080 Minutes of the Board of Trustees, 1890-1911.
31081 Board of Administration Files.
31082 Budget Files.
31083 Property Inventories.
31084 Record of Receipts and Disbursements.
31085 Balance Ledger, Collection Register, and Check Register.
31086 Appropriation Balance Ledger and Payment Register.
31087 Classification of Expenses Ledger.
31088 Student Trust Fund Ledger.
31089 Architectural Drawings.  

SOURCES
Gray, David P. Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota School for the Deaf Website.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.

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