Deaf Texans Say They're Being Denied Driver's Ed Courses by TEA

AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving Texans who are deaf.

The plaintiff claims driving instruction schools won't allow people who are deaf to take the classes needed to get a driver's license.

Deaf driving instructors say communication is critical in learning how to drive, and every student should have equal access.

The Texas School for the Deaf provides a driver's ed course for its own students, as well as deaf students who attend traditional schools.

A student said she wasn't allowed to take a driver's ed course because interpreters weren't available.

"I felt like I didn't have access, I wasn't equivalent to a hearing person, and it felt oppressive like they had completely dismissed me and ignored my rights. It wasn't right," said student Charmaine Hurt.

The TEA has re-distributed driver's instruction courses from public schools to private contractors.

This fall, the high court will consider whether the TEA had to ensure those classes would accommodate people with disabilities.

The TEA declined to comment on the case, saying the driver training program was transferred to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation last September.

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