Sunday, December 11, 2005

What is wrong with us?

If you read the Washington Post report on the student who was expelled for answering a question in Spanish, I hope you are asking yourself that question.

I can see encouraging students who are learning English to speak the language, but this kid was bilingual. What harm does it do? We should be praising him for being able to speak two languages. But instead, we expel him.

This is old thinking. Native Americans used to be punished for speaking their languages in school. Mexican Americans were often punished for the same thing. But that was 30 or more years ago. Have we really learned nothing?

Check out the article if you haven't yet.


Anonymous said...

This is the blog John set up for the Progressive Librarian's Guild-Piedmont Chapter.

Please go to it!

He posted about the bilingual kid in Kansas City, and he provided links to the email addresses of the school board and principal.

I emailed the principal and the school board president with my opinion. (I'm not happy!) I did suggest that they should beat the Spanish out of the kid ala the Native Americans. I also asked if the Department of Homeland Security would have been called if the kid had been speaking Farsi or Arabic.

OK, yeah, I was pretty darn bitchy. I did get a reasonable reply. We are pleased that the district office overturned the kid's suspension. And I know he's attending an alternative school, so I'm guessing he's not the best kid in the world, but suspending him for speaking Spanish is BS.

I am very disturbed by what happened. And I hope a lot of other people, saner than I, write and complain as well.


Anonymous said...

What a backward policy. I speak Spanish in the classroom--for effect--and so I guess I'd be given the boot, too. I'm on a committee at school that is working to make Hispanic students feel more included, and we consider bilingualism a boon.