Minnesota School for the Deaf, 615 Olof Hanson Drive, Faribault, Minnesota

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Minnesota School for the Dear

Address: 615 Olof Hanson Drive
Faribault, Minnesota
Rice County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year Established: 1858
Historic Function: Campus (educational)
Current Function: Campus (educational)

Faribault Rice County

The legislature established the Minnesota State Institute for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb in 1858 (Minn. Stat. 1858 c23 s44). When the institute opened in 1863, the legislature provided that blind as well as deaf children be admitted, and the name was changed to the Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind (Laws 1864 c71).

Separate facilities were erected for the blind in 1874 as a result of growing incompatibility between the two programs. An "experimental school" to train the feeble-minded was added to the program in 1879 (Laws 1879 c31), and in 1887 the title was changed to the Minnesota Institute for Defectives (Laws 1887 c205). The departments for the deaf and blind became the Minnesota School for the Deaf and Blind in 1902 (Ex. Sess. Laws 1902 c83) and it was classed with other educational institutes of the state. The title Minnesota School for the Deaf was adopted in about 1907. The name was changed to Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf in 1985 (Laws 1985 c240)

The Faribault school was originally established and operated under the control of a board of directors. The deaf were under the immediate charge of a principal and under the general supervision of the superintendent of the institute. In 1882 the internal administration of the departments was completely separated, each having its own superintendent. The State Board of Corrections and Charities acted as an overseeing board from 1883 to 1901, when it was replaced by the State Board of Control. The same year, the institute’s board of directors relinquished responsibility for financial matters to the Board of Control (Laws 1901 c122). The board of directors was completely eliminated in 1917 and the Board of Control took over its functions (Laws 1917 c343). The Department of Social Security became the controlling authority in 1939 (Laws 1939 c431), to be replaced in 1953 by the Department of Public Welfare (Laws 1953 c593). Since 1977 the Minnesota Department of Education has been responsible for the control, management, and administration of the School for the Deaf (Laws 1976 c271 s67). Sometime in the mid-1970s, the internal administration was changed so that, once again, the deaf school and the blind school shared a superintendent. Since the 1930s the school has served children with severe hearing and/or speech problems from the ages of 5 to 20. From 1864 until sometime in the 1930s, however, the range was 8 to 26 years of age. Board, care, and tuition are furnished free of charge to those children who are residents of Minnesota.

Communication skills for the deaf have always been emphasized, and, since 1972, a program known as Total Communication has been a significant aspect of the school’s education program. Vocational training was also a part of the schedule until some time in the mid-1960s; students actually did the repair work on the institution’s buildings and furniture from about 1905 through the mid-1920s. After graduation, many students attend special universities or vocational/technical schools for the deaf.


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