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Deaf Teens Schooled in STD Prevention

KPSC Educational Theatre health educators performed for about 80 high school students at Marlton School, the only day school for the deaf and hard of hearing in the LAUSD

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Giving a performance of “What Goes Around,” a sexually transmitted disease-prevention (STD) program for high school students, is no big deal for Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Educational Theatre performers. The troupe delivers 1,500 performances a year on various health topics and reaches about 200,000 students and their families, teachers, and school staff.

What was different about a recent performance, however, was that it was for about 80 high school students at Marlton School, the only day school for the deaf and hard of hearing in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Sign-language interpreters shadowed each actor so that students wouldn’t miss a word.

“Visual learning is key to deaf education so these performances truly impact the learning of our students. I am also thankful for the additional time spent after the performance to dialogue and ask questions about the topic presented. The students and staff have nothing but positive comments after a performance,” said Cara Fields, Marlton School principal. “I am proud as a principal to have Kaiser Permanente in our community supporting our students."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year there are 20 million new STD infections and half of them are among adolescents aged 15-24. Sixty-five percent of high school students report they are sexually active. “What Goes Around” presents the perils that can come with sexually risky behavior and promotes abstinence as the only risk-free option, with testing and condom use next for those who are sexually active. A Q&A session is included to facilitate candid conversation.

 “The performance was amazing, the set, and the actors. I was so happy that the interpreters were able to get the script ahead of time because they did an amazing job translating the performance. This is very valuable information that the students need and it was presented in a way that made the students feel comfortable enough to ask questions about the content which doesn’t happen a lot,” said Lauren Maucere, a teacher at the school.


Photo 1ASL interpreters Allison Kauling and Virginia Miranda, translate a scene between actor/educators Nikki McKenzie and Sandra Smith.

Photo 2: ASL interpreters Virginia Miranda, Allison Kauling and Lucas Soto provide translation for actor/educators Nikki McKenzie, Sandra Smith and Ruffy Landayan.