Passing of BSL Bill greeted with joy – The Scottish Parliament

Passing of BSL Bill greeted with joy – The Scottish Parliament


The next question is at Motion No 14111 in
the name of Mark Griffin on the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill be agreed to. Are
we all agreed? Yes (cheers) Well, I can’t explain it, it’s fantastic.
And I think particularly really fantastic for children who were born deaf because I
think it gives them the opportunity that they really ought to have and should have had and
I think the vote, the passing of this Bill I mean when it happened I felt really quite
overwhelmed, you know, because it’s just been such a long battle and it’s finally
over and I’m hugely excited. It’s been a very emotional day and it all
dates back to the conference in Milan where sign language was banned and oral education
was enforced upon deaf children for many many years. And finally we now have some legislation
that recognises BSL and I’m really pleased because I think it will impact on the future
of deaf children – generations and their progress. It means an awful lot. In my family two generations
ago I had four deaf relatives and my great-great uncle and aunt at that time were attending
a deaf school at Donaldson’s. And in 1880 at Milan there was a conference that banned
the use of sign language in education when they were at school and now I’m here, I’m
deaf myself, and I’m here when that decision is reversed by the Scottish Parliament and
it’s had a massive emotional impact on me. I think it will make life a lot more open
for deaf people, I mean we’ve traditionally faced an awful lot of barriers to our lives. Well, when the vote was made it made me very
emotional; hugely proud, I think, but very emotional because this is such an important
day for the deaf community in Scotland and Britain and in the world and I feel hugely
excited because I think the future of young deaf people and their education could change
as a result of this bill. And I think there have traditionally been a lot of barriers
to young people within education and I think those barriers could now be removed. The motion is, therefore, agreed to (laughter)
and the British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill is passed (applause).

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