HomeQ&ASchool banning usage of Spanish language outside of Spanish class

School banning usage of Spanish language outside of Spanish class

8
votes

Not sure if this if the right category; didn't know if it should go under Culture & Travel or General Discussion... Correct me if I am wrong

This is just something I wanted to discuss, and see if anyone else has encountered the same.

I live in Mississippi, a very small town and go to a very small high school. It is roughly 50% Caucasian and 50% African-American, with no Asians, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, etc. There are 4 Hispanic students in high school. (though there are quite a few in elementary-- probably about 15.) Two of the girls are siblings, and another boy is their first cousin. The fourth student is a girl with no relation to the other three. They are all friends, of course, relating to each other well. At one point this year, there was a situation, actually involving me-- where an English teacher found a Spanish note that had fallen out of my friend's folder, that I had written. She being nosy, gave it to the "Spanish teacher." Now let me tell you about her-- She is a Southern gringo... terrible pronunciation... no where near fluent... she has never been around Latinos... she just took the necessary hours of Spanish in order to teach it. (Being said, we only have Spanish 1 and nothing further, nor do they offer any other languages.) She has a beef with me because I often corrected her or tried to explain things to the class more in depth or understandable. She told the principal that I was swearing in Spanish in the note... Though what the note said was "El está tratando a decir palabrotas a tí, pero no está diciendo las palabras correcto." about a boy who was trying to insult my friend, by saying words which he thought were swears. She wrote me up and referred me to the principal's office. Fortunately, no action was ever taken towards me (why would it?) and there was no further mention of it towards me. However, from that point on they continue to say that, if you are not in Spanish class at the moment in which you are speaking/writing the language, it is prohibited. They told all 4 Latinos to speak English all day long, even amongst themselves... insisting "it helps your English development" was the reason why.

I don't know what responses I am expecting-- just would like to hear any similar incidents or your opinions on the situation and what to do...

9538 views
updated OCT 17, 2010
edited by BellaMargarita
posted by SavviVague

16 Answers

7
votes

If you want to take this to the next level, bring it to the attention of a civil rights representative. This sounds a lot like a school trying to control the freedom of your culture. No school should be able to BAN another language from being spoken. By this, I mean that if these students are being punished for speaking spanish, that is a violation of a civil right. If they are being ridiculed for it, bullied or otherwise talked to but not punished, then it's still a problem to be brought up to anyone that cares. Trust me, in this day and age, this problem can be resolved quickly.

http://www.justice.gov/usao/mss/civil/index.html

Edit I have added the website to the mississippi attourney's office, if you wanted to talk to someone.

updated OCT 17, 2010
edited by rockdown667
posted by rockdown667
So far, no one has been "punished" for speaking it. Though, ridicule by peers happens daily... Thinks along the lines of "You're in America, Speak English! You're speaking Spanish you must be illegal, or talkin' bout Americans. Go back to Mexico!" - SavviVague, JUL 13, 2010
That's good, but still take this up the chain. No school should be able to get away with this, and it's just a stain on the map of the direction our country is trying to go. If we all shoot for equality, we can make this country a better place. - rockdown667, JUL 13, 2010
I thank you for your concern and help. I think for the time being I will let this sit-- however, when school starts back, if they continue such behavioral-- I will definitely take action - SavviVague, JUL 13, 2010
5
votes

Well you have had some good advice already Savvi and I am thinking that someone got out a Spanish dictionary and checked what you really wrote so on that point you have already been exonerated. Why don't you be pro-active and suggest to the principal/head teacher that you (and your friends) would like to organize a Spanish Club for after hours to reinforce the Spanish that is being taught? You will be seen as a up and coming leader and you will also have a lot of fun and reinforce the second language for your school. grin

updated JUL 15, 2010
posted by margaretbl
A Spanish Club would be a great idea but they might have to strart from scratch if the basis of the existing teaching is not accurate/ sound - FELIZ77, JUL 13, 2010
4
votes

I do feel so much for you and all your Latino friends. This arrogant attitude of trying to ban Spanish being spoken around the school sadly comes from prejudice, that is: a fear and ignorance of what they do not know or understand. If Spanish were to be taught correctly by a native speaker and children/students could make real progress in learning it with some staff being encouraged to join in, I have little doubt that such attitudes could be overcome with time and patience.

Living in England I have not encountered such extreme attitudes as you have detailed even when I worked in a fairly malticultural primary school that included some Hispanic children but I have come across such attitudes in Chatrooms where it is assumed that only English should be spoken even in one such situation wher the room is simply a friendship room; not even designated exclusively for English speaking people. People who themselves cannot speak or understand foreign languages sometimes seem threatened by others who can speak other langauges... and wrongly assume that people are saying bad things about them or others.

updated OCT 17, 2010
edited by FELIZ77
posted by FELIZ77
4
votes

I believe Mississippi is part of the United States....where we have a constitutional amendment that guarantees the freedom of speech. Your rights are being violated. Some people are not meant to be teachers, this woman should find suitable employment.alt text

updated OCT 17, 2010
posted by bill24
eeugh ! This woman's picture is like Miss Trunchball from Roald Dahl 's book, Matilda - FELIZ77, JUL 13, 2010
4
votes

A veces no todo es como se parece. Por lo menos, los padres deben insistir en una reunión con la maestra acusada y la persona encargada de la escuela. Aclaren la verdad de los dos puntos de vistas y siga adelante desde este punto. Si es necesario reclamar los derechos civiles, pues hagalo. Hay suficientes abogados dispuestos a ayudar. Si ambos partidos puedan llegar a un acuerdo, sería bueno tambien. Quíza haya un malentendimiento por ambos lados.

Sometime things aren't always as they appear. At least, the parents should demand a meeting with the accused teacher and the principal. Clear up the truth of the incident from both points of view, and move forward from there. If it is necessary to sue for your civil rights, well do so! There are enough lawyers prepared to help you. If both parties can reach an agreement, that would be good too.Perhaps there was misunderstanding on both sides.

updated JUL 15, 2010
edited by 002262dd
posted by 002262dd
Sí, estoy de accuerdo Joe Pensaba que quisiera decir reclamar no recalmar lol :) - FELIZ77, JUL 13, 2010
Gracias! - 002262dd, JUL 13, 2010
3
votes

So why would that school even offer a second language. Sorry,

updated OCT 17, 2010
edited by LateToDinner
posted by LateToDinner
That is what I wonder. They say we have to have atleast one year of a foreign language to go to a four year college. - SavviVague, JUL 13, 2010
...though, come to think of it, I don't know why they say "at least" considering we can only even TAKE one year at my school... - SavviVague, JUL 13, 2010
They afraid you will get smarter than the teachers? I respect a lot of teachers, please do not get me wrong, it is the administration and/ or school board in play here. - LateToDinner, JUL 13, 2010
3
votes

I would continue to flaunt my Spanish skills, more so actually. I'd speak and write in Spanish all the time and make sure they noticed. We have freedom of speech, you can't tell students they can't speak in a certain language.

updated OCT 17, 2010
posted by socceryo3
That is actually what we have been doing... heehee - SavviVague, JUL 13, 2010
No, that would be to atagonistic at this point - BellaMargarita, JUL 13, 2010
True... I wonder if they will stick to their guns when school starts back and continue to protest our usage... - SavviVague, JUL 13, 2010
3
votes

I think I know what happened They probably you were using the language to insult someone behind that person's back. So they banned it.

updated JUL 15, 2010
posted by BellaMargarita
Throw out the good with the bad, the baby with the bath water, ad nauseum ,,, sorry Margret - no idea. - LateToDinner, JUL 13, 2010
Unless she can predjuice, I´d give the school a benefit of the doubt read what Joe says. - BellaMargarita, JUL 13, 2010
3
votes

deleted--good answers given by others.

updated JUL 15, 2010
edited by Pajaro44
posted by Pajaro44
Lady P, there was nothing wrong with your answer! I suspect you were caught speechless, I couldnt finish my thought either! - LateToDinner, JUL 13, 2010
Thank you, LTD! ¡Tienes razón! I can't imagine being in such a situation. It's so archaic! - Pajaro44, JUL 13, 2010
2
votes

The official language of Mississippi is English. The USA has no official language. Just a FYI.

You're still in high school so you might not have figured this out yet. People are ignorant. Some don't have much choice in the matter and lash out. Some choose to be ignorant by not educating themselves.

I hate that you have to go through stuff like that. In a way it's kind of comical because it's the educators that are ignorant in this case.

updated OCT 17, 2010
posted by Atomic
2
votes

Consider the source. Mississippi.

Apparently there has been no change there since the 1960s.

updated OCT 17, 2010
posted by 005faa61
2
votes

Think A C L U!

Even though, I don't think this is anything out of the ordinary. School administrations trample students rights everyday. Being minors, it is always argued that they have no rights which is routinely corrected when the school district settles the lawsuit.

In truth, I would write a letter (or have your parents write one) to the School Board. If you don't get any positive results there, decide if you want to pursue it farther. The school is definitely in the wrong, so it all depends on whether you feel that it is worth your time and effort which "fighting city hall" always requires. The only way to really fight such discrimination (unless there is a sane person on the School Board which doesn't seem to be a requirement for the job) is to continue your conduct and let them expel you. Then, you have incurred damages and a legal position to plead your case from. However, consider your personal losses. Consult your parents. I hope that they say go for it, we'll support your endeavor. You'll probably learn more from the experience than anything they are teaching at the school anyway.

about the aclu

updated OCT 17, 2010
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
I wish that something would be done, but being as I am not Hispanic nor do I speak perfect fluent Spanish, I feel it is not quite my place to do so. The Latinos refuse to try anything like that. - SavviVague, JUL 13, 2010
The thing is, I have absolutely no case and no evidence of the past prejudice. I am thinking it will let up and perhaps cease come next year. If not, I would like to gather evidence - SavviVague, JUL 13, 2010
Con todo respeto Q, Creo que hay mas de lo que nos están contando! - 002262dd, JUL 13, 2010
2
votes

I thought schools were supposed to be places of learning?

updated JUL 15, 2010
posted by amykay
1
vote

I am located in Kansas and we had a similar issue at a private school in my town. It was decided that Spanish could only be spoken in the classroom during Spanish lessons. It could not be spoken on the playground, in the hallways or in the cafeteria. There seemed to be a concern that the Spanish speaking students were using the language to talk about others in unflattering ways. I didn't hear more about it, but found the decision interesting as it is a Catholic church based school and much of congregation speaks Spanish.

updated JUL 14, 2010
posted by PulgaRoja
0
votes

So Savvi,

School has been back in session now for a month and a half. Time for an update. Is Spanish still being banned outside of Spanish class at your school? Has anyone been punished for speaking or writing Spanish? I am sure I am not the only one wondering. I hope the situation has improved, but if not, I hope you and the Latino students are taking steps to protect your civil rights.

There were no latino students in my school, but my friends and I did try to speak the little spanish that we knew to each other in order to practice. You could argue that you are being banned from studying for Spanish class.

Best of luck to you and your friends trying to survive 3 more years in what is obviously a very ignorant and racist school. As you can see you have many supporters here.

Attentamente, Sagiia

updated OCT 17, 2010
posted by sagiia
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