Gray’s Creek Elementary students go viral — again — while spreading inclusive message


Kindergarten students in Olivia Turner’s class at Gray’s Creek Elementary practice American Sign Language (ASL) on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. David Gray | The News

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (The Livingston Parish News) — Olivia Turner’s kindergarten class has gone viral… again.

The Gray’s Creek Elementary students, who have been learning American Sign Language (ASL) this year, were recently featured in a video on the Facebook app Page, which uploaded the clip to its 214 million followers.

In the 23-second video — which has garnered more than 4.4 million views and 31,000 shares in less than two days — six of Turner’s students are communicating a phrase to raise awareness for American Sign Language.

Each student speaks and signs one or two words of the phrase, “Together we have a lot more fun.”

The video’s inclusive message goes with the stated mission of the Facebook app page, which “celebrates how our friends inspire us, support us, and help us discover the world when we connect.”

This is the second time Turner’s students have gone viral via social media. The first came in late January when she uploaded a video of her students communicating via sign language in pairs. That video has attracted more than 2.7 million views and 33,000 shares in less than a month.

In her fourth year teaching, Turner decided to implement ASL when she learned she was getting a special needs student who is deaf. She hasn’t devoted a set time to ASL learning. Rather, it’s incorporated throughout the entire school day.

Turner receives much assistance from interpreter Andrea Baas, who has been an ASL interpreter for 17 years. The two spend the day teaching side-by-side, with Baas signing out the words that Turner speaks.

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