A Texas middle school is under fire after students say they were banned from speaking Spanish in class. The students say their principal announced the rule last month over the intercom.
Students and parents at Hempstead Middle School say the new rule has given teachers and fellow students a hall pass to discriminate.
“She was like, ‘no speaking Spanish.’ she told me like that. I was like, ‘that’s my first language.’ she said, ‘well, you can get out,” says a 6th grader.
A letter sent home by the superintendent says, “Neither the district… or any campus… has any policy prohibiting the speaking of Spanish.”
These students feel-that has not been made entirely clear at their school.
“People don’t want to speak it no more and don’t want to get caught speaking it because they’re going to get in trouble,” adds another 6th grader.
Parents like Cynthia Zamora believe the school is not getting to the root of the problem. She wants to know why the “no Spanish” announcement was ever made in the first place. “I was very surprised that she would even go to that level.”
Especially considering about 50 percent of the students that enrolled at this school are Hispanic. “It’s wrong for them to do that. It’s wrong for them to tell us to not speak spanish at our school,” she adds.
The principal has been placed on paid administrative leave while the district investigates.
A spokeswoman for the district released a statement saying, in part:
“The district is committed to efficiently and effectively resolving this matter with as little disruption to our students and their learning environment as possible.”