A Texas middle school principal has been placed on paid administrative leave for allegedly forbidding the entire school to speak Spanish in order to prevent "disruptions," KHOU reports.
According to the news site, students at Hempstead Middle School have accused Principal Amy Lacey of telling them over the intercom on Nov. 12 that they could not speak Spanish in class. Two weeks passed before the district superintendent sent letters to students' homes assuring parents that "neither the district or any campus has any policy prohibiting the speaking of Spanish."
However, the students fear the damage has already been done.
"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," sixth-grader Kiara Lozano told KHOU.
Some students claim that the principal’s stance has emboldened some teachers to discriminate against them.
"There’s one teacher that said, if you speak Spanish in my class, I’m going to write you up," eighth-grader Tiffani Resurez claimed.
"She was, like, no speaking Spanish," another eighth-grader, Yedhany Gallegos, said of a teacher. "I was, like, that’s my first language. She said, 'Well, you can get out.' "
According to KHOU, the Hempstead Independent School District released a written statement:
We are continuing to "Create a Culture of Excellence" which includes embracing all students of all cultural and diverse backgrounds. Our priorities are our students.
The district has received allegations regarding this issue and the district is investigating the matter. At this time the administrator is on administrative leave with pay until the investigation is completed and appropriate action is determined. This is all we can say at this time as there is a pending investigation on this matter.
The district is committed to efficiently and effectively resolving this matter with as little disruption to our students and their learning environment as possible.
Read more at KHOU.