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Thu Dec 5, 2013, 01:06 PM

Texas School Bans 50% Students From Speaking Native Language

Karades, D. (2013, December 2). Hempstead students say principal tried to ban them from speaking Spanish. Retrieved from http://www.khou.com/news/local/Hempstead-students-say-principal-tried-to-ban-them-from-speaking-Spanish-234172961.html

“People don’t want to speak it no more, and they don’t want to get caught speaking it because they’re going to get in trouble,” said sixth-grade student Kiara Lozano.

A number of students believe the principal’s announcement has given some teachers and fellow classmates a hall pass to discriminate.

“There’s one teacher that said, if you speak Spanish in my class, I’m going to write you up,” said eighth-grader Tiffani Resurez.

More than 50 percent of the students enrolled at Hempstead Middle School are Hispanic. That’s according to greatschools.org.

Students said the school has not resolved the confusion surrounding the principal’s attempt to ban the Spanish language in class.

“She was like no speaking Spanish,” explained eighth-grader Yedhany Gallegos. “I was like that’s my first language. She said, well you can get out.”

Gallegos and many of her classmates grew up speaking Spanish at home. She said speaking Spanish with her friends at school comes as second nature.

Some parents feel the district has yet to get to the root of the problem.

“Why are you punishing our children like this?” asked mother Cynthia Zamora.

Associated Press. (2013, December 3). Principal Forbids Students From Speaking Spanish. Retrieved http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/principal-forbids-students-speaking-spanish-21089080

A Texas middle school principal has been placed on paid leave after she banned the speaking of Spanish by students while in class.

A Hempstead school district spokeswoman confirms that Amy Lacey has been placed on leave pending investigation of her Nov. 12 announcement on the intercom at Hempstead Middle School.

More than 50 percent of the school enrollment of about 330 students is Hispanic. KHOU-TV (http://bit.ly/...) of Houston reports a letter sent by the district to school parents assured that neither the district nor any campus has any policy banning speaking Spanish.

Edwards, D. (2013, December 4). Texas principal bans Hispanic students from speaking Spanish to ‘prevent disruptions’. Retrieved from http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/12/04/texas-principal-bans-hispanic-students-from-speaking-spanish-to-prevent-disruptions/

A group of students told KHOU that Hempstead Middle School Principal Amy Lacey announced over the intercom on Nov. 12 that they were no longer to use their native language in order to “prevent disruptions.”

It was over two weeks later before the superintendent sent a letter home insisting that “neither the district or any campus has any policy prohibiting the speaking of Spanish.”

But the students said that the effect of the ban had been chilling.

Note from dsteve01:

Isn't the whole concept of a school to be a place of safety, cultural diversity for students? I met many young hispanics in my generation that cannot speak Spanish because the grandparents refused to teach them the language out of fear for the children ability to adapt.

Who are we to judge these people to the point of forced cultural conversion? Maybe if you actually sat down to learn some Spanish you could better accommodate your students? Examples like the Hempstead school district really bring down the quality of our education system as a whole.

The federal government awards you money to help your students, not force them to adopt your world view. What's the point of this whole exercise in education if you are not enabling your students to participate?

All the best,

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Reply Texas School Bans 50% Students From Speaking Native Language (Original post)
dsteve01 Dec 2013 OP
burnsei sensei Dec 2013 #1
LiberalFighter Dec 2013 #2
pangaia Dec 2013 #4
callous taoboy Dec 2013 #3
kristopher Dec 2013 #5

Response to dsteve01 (Original post)

Thu Dec 5, 2013, 01:13 PM

1. I've had the experience of teaching students whose first language

is not English.
Making sense is important, not just in an educational context, but in a human context. There was one time in which I gave out an assignment that was fairly complex in its demands on communication and sense. It required a fairly complex thought process to do well.
I was dealing with a student from the Czech Republic who I knew was capable of fulfilling the requirements of the assignment and getting the "A" grade.
The problem is that he was required to write in English, a language which he grasped not so well. He was in mechanical engineering, and where mathematics was the main means of communication, there was no wall separating him from his auditors.
But in History, the case was different.
I wanted, like nothing else, just to sit him down and get him to speak through an interpreter, or to get to a space where he could show his intellectual capacity to its best advantage.
This was a frustrating experience, and is part of the reason why I am reticent to teach again.

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Response to dsteve01 (Original post)

Thu Dec 5, 2013, 01:16 PM

2. I can understand the disruption factor.

But, wouldn't it help to have a sufficient number of teachers, admin, and maybe the principal able to speak and understand Spanish?

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Response to LiberalFighter (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 5, 2013, 07:02 PM

4. Exactly, DUH!!!

Why don't the f**k**g teachers learn Spanish? it might actually do them some good.

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Response to dsteve01 (Original post)

Thu Dec 5, 2013, 02:16 PM

3. Sometimes I can't stand the stupidity in my home state.

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Response to dsteve01 (Original post)

Thu Dec 5, 2013, 07:40 PM

5. The idea is solid, but the execution for establishing the practice requires care

And while what you say about safety and diversity being important is true, I don't think you can say that is "the whole concept" of school. The whole concept is learning, a goal that is enable greatly by both safety and diversity. However diversity isn't enhanced by language barriers and neither are safety and learning. If language barriers exist on a large scale, then enacting this policy might help a lot if it's done right.

If they are serious about it this policy should be accompanied by intensive language instruction with enrollment determined based on the results of tests such as TOEIC or TOEFL. If I were the administration I'd also try to even things out by shifting the focus of the entire institution to one where language learning is a shared goal that requires a language class every semester of all students.

Make it a point of school pride, not a mark of prejudice.

I went to a college like this in Japan where 130 countries were represented among the students and faculty.

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