As parents and teachers got ready to go back to school, they started to look for those necessary school supplies. This year for most, that includes face masks.
Every year Leslie Bailey, seventh year instructional coach at Legacy Elementary, has to come up with her list of school supplies. But this year is a little bit different since we’re in the middle of a pandemic.
With a mask requirement in Bossier Parish’s schools, Bailey knew she was going to need something a little extra for a little girl in her class with a hearing-impairment.
Before classes started at Legacy Elementary last week, Bailey spent 6-7 hours stitching specialty masks for each one of her students.
“I made a total of about 40 masks, so both classes with hearing impaired students can have them, as well as, the teachers who teach those classes. I also made sure the speech teacher had one because students rely on seeing her lips. I still need to make more for our Pre-K, who also service hearing impaired students,” said Bailey.
The masks are not like normal masks. The mouth part is a clear plastic-type material, so that the mouth of the child can be seen.
“It’s important that all students are placed in the least restrictive environment. A student who is hearing impaired shouldn’t have to have another hurdle to jump due to the safety precautions set in place,” Bailey said.
“I believe that most people probably don’t enjoy wearing a face mask, but understanding that even though it may be uncomfortable for us, others are faced with even more problems. Giving students the opportunity to see things from a different perspective builds compassion. The world is a better place when there’s more compassionate people in it,” she added.
Concluding their first day of school, one particular student of Bailey’s excitedly told his parents how his first day was and what Bailey did.
“I had no idea Congressman Mike Johnson’s son was in this classroom, so it was definitely a surprise to see such a sweet and grateful post on Facebook. My phone kept receiving notifications and finally I opened to see why. The comments were so heartwarming, because It was unexpected,” Bailey said.
“I don’t think anything I did was above and beyond what any educator wouldn’t do when faced with a problem. I have watched over the last few weeks educators rethink, revise, and create all new ways of learning, so students that are on-site and virtual can experience the classroom to its fullest potential. I was simply trying to do my part in helping limit restrictions that are now placed on teachers and students,” she added.
Bailey noted that the hearing impaired student’s mother did reach out to her thanking her for what she did.
“Mrs. Berry reached out to me after picking her daughter up from the car line after her first day of school. She was very grateful for the time and thought of having every student provided with a mask that would allow her little girl to communicate with students,” Bailey said.
“At our school, we service the majority of elementary hearing impaired students. I believe every student Legacy Elementary is family. These masks don’t just provide a way to communicate for the hearing impaired, but for people who are just hard of hearing. Since creating these, I have heard many stories on Etsy on why they were purchasing them. For the neighbor who can’t hear well, for the husband who is hard of hearing, to the store clerk who wants her customers to see her smile. Personally, getting to see the students smile is a breath of fresh air, just a little glimpse of some normalcy and being able to connect a face to a name,” she added.