Texas Principal Amy Lacey Suspended for Banning Spanish Speaking
The principal of a Texas middle school who tried to ban Hispanic students from speaking Spanish has been placed on paid administrative leave.
KHOU reports Hempstead Middle School principal Amy Lacey made a November 12 intercom announcement telling students that speaking Spanish was forbidden. Lacey said the ban was meant to “prevent disruptions,” but it is unclear how students speaking in their native tongue would cause “disruptions.”
More than two weeks later, the Hempstead Independent School District superintendent mailed a letter to students’ homes stating that “neither the district nor any campus has any policy prohibiting the speaking of Spanish.”
But the damage had been done. Confusion was sown. Some students believe Lacey’s attempted ban gave teachers carte blanche to discriminate against them. At least two teachers allegedly threatened students.
“She was like, no speaking Spanish,” eighth-grader Yedhany Gallegos told KHOU. “I was like, ‘That’s my first language.’ She said, ‘Well, you can get out.'”
“There’s one teacher that said, ‘If you speak Spanish in my class, I’m going to write you up,'” eighth-grader Tiffani Resurez told KHOU.
Gallegos explained that many of her classmates– half of whom are Hispanic– grew up speaking Spanish at home; it comes naturally to them.
Even though the Spanish ban has been struck down, some students said they were afraid to speak their native tongue in school for fear of retribution.
“People don’t want to speak [Spanish] 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.
UPI reports Hempstead ISD spokeswoman Laurie Bettis released a statement claiming the district is “committed to efficiently and effectively resolving this matter.”
“We are continuing to ‘Create a Culture of Excellence’ which includes embracing all students of all cultural and diverse backgrounds,” the statement said. “Our priorities are our students.”
Hempstead is a town of 4,700 residents– a quarter of them Hispanic– located 52 miles northwest of Houston.
There is no official language in the United States.
Tagged Amy Lacey, Amy Lacey Hempstead, Hempstead Independent School District, Hempstead ISD, Kiara Lozano, Laurie Bettis, principal bans Spanish, Spanish language ban, speaking Spanish in school, Tiffani Resurez, Yedhany Gallegos