At the recent 51st Biennial National Association of the Deaf (NAD) conference, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) was recognized for its efforts to ensure that former African-American students at the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) received diplomas that were originally denied to them.

On Friday, July 6, the NAD Board of Directors recognized the KBE with a special resolution, praising the board for its action on behalf of African-American KSD graduates.

“I’m honored that the National Association for the Deaf recognizes the efforts made by the Kentucky Board of Education and the Department of Education to right a grievous injustice,” said KBE Chair David Karem, who was present during the event. “Providing former African-American students at KSD with their long-overdue diplomas was simply the obvious thing to do. The other board members and I are humbled by the appreciation and gratitude we’ve been shown.”

In August 2011, the board held a special ceremony on the campus of the Kentucky School for the Deaf to award diplomas to African Americans who were enrolled at KSD in the mid-20th century, but did not receive recognition for graduation.

Approximately 75 individuals were identified to receive diplomas. These individuals were enrolled at KSD between 1930 and 1955, but left the school without receiving official recognition of graduation or completion of courses.

The National Association of the Deaf is the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the U.S. The 2012 Biennial NAD Conference was held July 3-7 in Louisville.

In 1823, the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) became the first state-supported school of its kind in the nation and the western hemisphere. KSD has a rich history of ensuring that deaf and hard-of-hearing children and youth in Kentucky have educational opportunities to develop their potential to become educated, life-long learners and productive citizens.

The school currently enrolls approximately 140 students, and the Kentucky Board of Education serves as the board of education for both KSD and the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in Louisville.