Karen Mayes info. & connecting of some dots re: Indiana HB1367

People of the Eye (POTE) has a series of entries about opposing Indiana’s HB1367 & examining the EHDI system.  Karen Mayes, a Deaf mother of Deaf children and an advocate of quality education, shared her thoughts, observations and connecting of the dots re: Indiana and HB1367.  She has graciously allowed for us to run her write up here at POTE.  Comments about what she has to share and HB1367 are welcome.  This is not a space for bashing anyone.

Let there be light.  If you have anything you want posted here – send me an email or put it in a comment section for me to see and repost.  Keep shining folks.  Biggest thanks Karen Mayes for this brave and just STAND.


By Karen Westphal Mayes

Thanks for support from Julie Rems Smario


Some of you know me as Karen Mayes, from online.  I have something things to tell you.  A few, on a personal level. Others, none at all. With some encouragement, I have decided to come out with my side of the story of what happened in Indiana, to show some connection between the dots leading up to the creation of HB 1367. My family lived in Indiana for 4 years (2006 to 2010).  When HB 1367 came out a few weeks ago, it was a depressing day for me to realize that my suspicions about Hear Indiana were proved correct. I shot off the message to a few people… a day after HB 1367 was made public. That was BEFORE people discovered that Lisa Kovacs and Dr. Karl White were involved. It’s copied and pasted from my message archive: “I KNEW it’d happen, after AB 2702, ESPECIALLY when I saw one person (Lisa Kovacs) from Indiana involved in the creation of AB 2702.”


I am a deaf mother of two deaf children. My children are former students of Indiana School for the Deaf.   I am also a former member of Hear Indiana.  My husband also got involved with Hands and Voice.  I was a member of Hear Indiana cuz of my child who was a strong aural kid, by his choice (nowadays he prefers signing over speaking.) So I knew a little bit about the happenings in Hear Indiana.


Google Lisa Kovacs. And Dr. Karl White… together. Lisa Kovacs is from Hands and Voice which just partnered with Dr. Karl White’s baby called National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) www.infanthearing.org/ Lisa Kovacs was for a short time part of Karl White’s group who helped designed California’s AB 2072, a California bill which had no Deaf stakeholders  Hands and Voice started as a seemingly Deaf-friendly organization.  But it really is a new face of Alexander Graham Bell Association with their favorite words thrown everywhere: OPTIONS, NEUTRAL and UNBIASED.  Those words cripple and silence the Deaf community’s voice of truth about Alexander Graham Bell’s long history of lying to the parents of Deaf children, which created more than a century of painful experience the deaf children endured.

On NCHAM’s website, I found this:Hands & Voices is a partner with NCHAM to provide parent-to-parent support, systemic representation of families, and resources/product development in the Early Hearing Detection and Invention system. Additionally, Hands & Voices has over 35 chapters and startup chapters, many of which are directly involved in the implementation of EHDI grants at the state level, including the Hands & Voice Guide By Your Side Program (you can download at Guide By Your Side at http://www.handsandvoices.org/gbys/index.htm)


Lisa Kovacs is heavily involved in Hear Indiana, Hands and Voices chapter, and works for Indiana goverment full time. Also, Early Detection Hearing and  Indiana School for the Deaf’s Outreach know her very well.

I met Lisa Kovacs  when I lived in Indiana and she offered the paid training to my husband, Brian,  who took it… for her new guide program, Guide by Your Side, which stressed on the unbiased, options and neutrality… that was BEFORE AB 2702. Anytime when a deaf baby or a deaf child is diagnosed, the information is automatically sent to the Indiana Department of Health, which is passed to Lisa Kovacs, who then would send the Guide By Your Side to the parents of newly diagnosed deaf children.

By then, Brian was the only deaf guide and he was never called upon, since the majority of parents were hearing, preferring hearing parent guides, of course. Interesting thing… the parent guides are PAID for their visits to the parents’ homes. Their job is to provide the sympathetic ear to the devastated parents and to explain the options NEUTRALLY or UNBIASED. Now, the key words… OPTIONS, NEUTRALLY of UNBIASED. Sounds like AB 2702, right?

WHAT LIST KOVACS TOLD ME ABOUT INDIANA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAFI attended a workshop given by Lisa Kovacs… she stated that Indiana government viewed Indiana School for the Deaf and Indiana School for the Blind as the MOST RESTRICTIVE environments… and making no secret of being an advocate for mainstreaming. OK,  I did notice that hearing parents kissfisted Lisa Kovacs.  She is charming.

Lisa Kovacs…I have to admit that she was a nice, attractive lady with 3 attractive children (her son is deaf.) My son enjoyed socializing with her children at the Hands and Voice’s annual picnic and at the Hear Indiana’s camp. I was dismayed to hear that the state government viewed Indiana School for the Deaf and Indiana School for the Blind as MRE (most restrictive environments), as stated by her at the workshop which explained her BIASED (opposite of her claims to be UNBIASED)  advocacy skills at IEP meetings. She uses her charm  to convince the parents that ISD is not an appropriate placement for the deaf children.  Now can you tell me that Lisa neutral and unbiased? NOT!!

AB2972 IN CALIFORNIAThen AB 2702 in California came along and I thought it was a good bill… honestly. But then I got to understand the viewpoints by the deaf community in California and their main concern over it. What stunned me was seeing Lisa Kovac’s name. That got me mulling over the happenings. By the way, AB 2072 was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

GOVERNOR DANIEL’S “DON’T BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU” ATTITUDE TO INDIANA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAFThen AB 2072 was over. My family moved out of Indiana. I never forgot how oppressive the Indiana government was towards  Indiana School for the Deaf.  It was “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” oppression… one perfect example is how Governor Daniels treated Dave Geeslin, ISD’s superintendent, with his ISD Board appointments of nonvoting members, Rep. Cindy Noe  Adam Horst, Director of the State Budget,  along with three new voting Board who placed their children in schools supported by Hear Indiana and Hands and Voice.    I like David Geeslin, but I don’t envy his job dealing with Governor Daniels being in bed with Dr. Karl White, Lisa Kovacs, Hear Indiana, and  Hands and Voice.

HB1367 CAME FEW MONTHS AFTER GOVERNOR DANIEL’S INDIANA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF BOARD FIASCOThen Governor Daniel’s HB 1367 (written by Cindy Noe) came along… what perked my  interest is “Center for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Education”… with “OPTIONS”. This House Bill means no more Indiana School for the Deaf Outreach.    Uh oh!  Smells like Lisa Kovacs, even though she’s not one of the Indiana School for the Deaf board members. Lisa Kovacs has her fingers in everywhere, NCHAM, EHDI, Hear Indiana, Alexander Graham Bell, etc., and used her connections, WITHOUT DEAF STAKEHOLDERS, to work AGAINST THE DEAF COMMUNITY.  If this bill passes,  the funds for the Outreach will be given to Lisa Kovacs’s connections.


Now, I read about Lisa Kovacs… she’d be going to EDHI in St.Louis…http://ehdimeeting.org/SubFiles/AwardNominees.cfm. Scroll down to find her name, Lisa Kovacs. Of course, there she is… oh, she’s doing the Guide by Your side on the national level now, which, I want to remind you,  can find at Dr. Karl White’s NCHAM website…. HMMM….. “System change”?  Of course, that involves taking away the funds from Indiana School for the Deafs Outreach program… ah

There you go. OPTIONS. Hmmmm… NEUTRAL…. UNBIASED…hmmm…. Lisa Kovacs and her cronies are always using those three words to make us Deaf people look like we are not neutral nor unbiased and not understanding options.   If anyone understands the best, it is the Deaf people.  Deaf people know first hand what it is like to grow up Deaf.  Deaf people also know first hand about the atrocities  committed by Alexander Graham Bell and the schools affiliated to this organization with their rigid speaking and listening curriculum causing severe emotional, and physical abuse to many Deaf children.   Deaf people are being silenced and ignored because of oppressive hearing people like Lisa Kovacs hiding under the guise of wonderful sounding words for hearing parents- OPTIONS, NEUTRAL and UNBIASED.


At the beginning it was just my gut telling me that Lisa Kovacs is involved in HB 1367, behind the curtains. The fact that she’s heavily involved in EDHI, a strong advocate for OPTIONS, NEUTRAL, and UNBIASED… linked the dots in my mind. I just need the hard evidence; I just noticed that her name never came up…but I suspect she’s one of the masterminds of HB 1367.  My suspicions about Lisa Kovacs was before Jay Krieger, who kept people nationwide posted of the going-ons in the statehouse by using Twitter.  Kreiger tweeted that Karl White and Lisa Kovacs showed up at the statehouse for the hearing, giving the testimonies, confirming my suspicions. She is the mastermind behind HB 1367. YOUR STATE IS BEING KARLIZED AND KOVACSIZEDOut of curiosity, I looked up both Karl White and Lisa  Kovac’s backgrounds… both were involved in Arizona’s passing the hearing screening bill without Deaf stakeholders. (before AB 2702).  It happened under the radar.   AZ has a strong Hands and Voices chapter. The information about Arizona  I got from Google is insufficient, but here it is: “Somebody said that Arizona has about eighty-five percent newborn hearing … KARL WHITE: They have over eighty-five percent of babies being screened now. …. it and which of those include, as a part of the law, a central tracking system. … for professionals; we provide in-service training to deaf education professionals. …” Karl White flies to each state to help pass bills without including the Deaf community.  If Karl White has not yet visited a state, he has a plan to do so. Just visit his NCHAM website and you will find a list of the states and their legislative history: http://www.infanthearing.org/legislative/summary/index.html.


Oh, an interesting tidbit: Karl White lived here in Rochester, NY for a few years… he worked at NTID as a Director of Research and Development. To this day, I have no idea of how he contributed to NTID as the director, and I have not gotten around to finding out yet.


Two years ago, I told one National Technology Institute for the Deaf (NTID) instructor about Lisa Kovacs and I insisted she was involved some way in AB 2702. The instructor contacted Lisa Kovacs.  Lisa flat out denied… I was like WTF. I knew I saw her name linked to it online, but for the life of me I could not find it in the Google… it vanished. I still don’t know her role exactly in California’s AB 2702, for the record. BUT Lisa Kovacs moves the same circles as Dr. Karl White, involved in EHDI, especially with her project, Guide By Your Side.  She worked for Dept. of Health, so she was in a position to gather information and to contact the hearing parents to ask if they’d like to see her parent guide. The parent guides were to define the OPTIONS to the parents of newly diagnosed deaf babies and toddlers. The guide’s emphasis was NEUTRALITY, no showing favoritism. The guides were to tell what ASL, AVT, cued speech, etc… and they were to offer the OPTIONS’ links and resources for the parents to do research and contact, as well as to offer a sympathetic ear. This guide was and is STILL under the umbrella of Hands and Voices.  Lisa Kovacs always claim that Hear Indiana and Hands and Voice are UNBIASED and NEUTRAL.  In reality, UNBIASED and NUETRAL is a way of say “NO DEAF PEOPLE CAN BE INVOLVED WITH THIS”.  I know first hand this is the truth. In 2009 my husband attended 2 days of paid training to learn how to use the guide, but he was never called to “guide”… and he was the only deaf guide, out of several hearing guides


I was and am still an advocate for Deaf schools and a strong believer that ASL is the best language for Deaf children, at any levels of hearing, due to a lot of research that it helps develop cognition and language. American Sign language for deaf babies is a human right issue.  As I have said before, and will say again…follow your child’s lead, not Dr. Karl White and Lisa Kovac’s devious systematic plan to destroy the outreach of Indiana School for the Deaf, the only place left where the parents of deaf children can get the TRUTH  from deaf people themselves.  Do not let Lisa Kovacs and Dr. Karl White divide and conquer by pitting the parents against the deaf people for their own profit.

Instead, in the absence of respect for human rights, science and its offspring technology have been used in this century as brutal instruments for oppression. (John Charles Polyanyi)

Minorities have a right to appeal to the Constitution as a shield against such oppression. (James K.Polk)


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