(NewsNation) — When a teacher noticed her students struggling to communicate with a deaf cafeteria worker, she took matters into her own hands.
Kari Maskelony began signing with cafeteria worker Leisa Duckwall one day and noticed she had attracted the attention of her students. Without the ability to sign, they could only tell Duckwall what they wanted to eat by pointing.
The kids wanted to be able to communicate with Duckwall the way she speaks, and to be able to greet and thank her the way they would with other school employees.
Maskelony started teaching her class American Sign Language and eventually the principal expanded the program to teach all students at the Virginia elementary school ASL.
Maskelony said students have even started signing to each other in class, and she’s incorporated sign and hand signals in the classroom to avoid disrupting students who are working.