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'We depend on interpreters' | Stockton deaf instructor advocates for pay for interpreters

Stockton Unified School District has not paid on time twice this year, according to the company that contracts interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing.

STOCKTON, California — A deaf high school instructor in Stockton is shining a light on the importance of interpreters in the classroom.

Teacher Ashley Lowe told ABC10 that an agency contracting up to 14 interpreters to the Stockton Unified School District (SUSD) was not getting paid.

"It's really frustrating because right now my students and myself, we're deaf, and we depend on interpreters for access, for communication," Lowe said.

Lowe has taught for six years in SUSD and has sixteen students at Edison High School along with some middle school students. But, without an interpreter by her side, class simply comes to a halt.

"If there are no interpreters, how can you imagine yourself sitting in a classroom and not wondering what's going on? Not being able to hear what's going on around you?" Lowe said.

She even took her frustrations before the district school board Tuesday night.

"Under the ADA, the district is required to provide equity and equality for the deaf and hard of hearing students, the parents and their hearing peers," she told the board.

She said no member of the board responded once she completed her comments. However, her advocacy paid off.

On Wednesday, the district issued this statement saying, "Eaton Translation Services has received all payments. Our services are current and will continue with Eaton. We value all of our Stockton Unified School District students, parents and staff."

"People need to be aware about deaf education... I want the community to understand the importance of having access to communication for our deaf students, for our deaf adults like me. We're no different from you guys. We need that support and being a part of the community," Lowe said.

Based in Sacramento, Eaton Translation Services said this is the second time this year Stockton Unified has failed to make payments on time, and the school district said it is looking into why the payments have been late.

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