Friday, December 16, 2005
Don't speak Spanish here
This is an unbelievable story out of Kansas City, Kansas, that I somehow missed last week. According to the Washington Post, a 16 year-old Mexican kid was suspended for speaking Spanish in the hallway of his high school. Even if you believe in English-only instruction at schools (I don't because I think schools should offer a variety of options to help all kinds of learners (including native English speakers that might want to be in a dual language class), and because I think it can be really valuable to teach immigrant kids that grow up here to read and write Spanish), this is crossing the line. Prohibiting the expression of some cultures even when it does not disrupt sends the wrong message to kids (that some cultures are not valued as much as others), and it is racist. Does anyone think that a kid speaking a European language in the hall would have been sent home? I try not to get too discouraged by all the anti-immigrant (really, anti-Hispanic) language being thrown around by Republicans in the House because I know that the reality on the ground is much more complex (Kansas allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition to local colleges, for example), but this kind of stuff is depressing.