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NEWS: Kansas City Student Suspended for Speaking Spanish in School

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posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 08:33 AM
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A Kansas City public high school suspended 16-year-old Zach Rubio for a conversation he had with another student on school property in Spanish. Jennifer Watts, the school's Principal, suspended Rubio for 1 1/2 days, explaining, "This is not the first time we have [asked] Zach and others to not speak Spanish at school." In the face of a public firestorm, the school district has since rescinded the suspension and announced that speaking a foreign language is not grounds for a suspension.
 



www.washingtonpost.com
KANSAS CITY, Kan., Dec. 8 -- Most of the time, 16-year-old Zach Rubio converses in clear, unaccented American teen-speak, a form of English in which the three most common words are "like," "whatever" and "totally." But Zach is also fluent in his dad's native language, Spanish -- and that's what got him suspended from school.

"It was, like, totally not in the classroom," the high school junior said, recalling the infraction. "We were in the, like, hall or whatever, on restroom break. This kid I know, he's like, 'Me prestas un dolar?' ['Will you lend me a dollar?'] Well, he asked in Spanish; it just seemed natural to answer that way. So I'm like, 'No problema.' "

But that conversation turned out to be a big problem for the staff at the Endeavor Alternative School, a small public high school in an ethnically mixed blue-collar neighborhood. A teacher who overheard the two boys sent Zach to the office, where Principal Jennifer Watts ordered him to call his father and leave the school.




Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This seems so over the top, as to be almost unbelievable. It's incidents like this that convince me our public education system delivers damaging "lessons" that far outweigh the benefits of the subject matter they are entrusted to teach. If this isn't institutionalized racism, I don't know what is...

Related News Links:
www.kansascitykansan.com
msnbc.msn.com
www.thekansascitychannel.com
www.kansascity.com

[edit on 9-12-2005 by loam]




posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 08:34 AM
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You beat me to the punch on this one

This will be the cause of much flack in the news.
Here is a news link to the story on MSNBC
msnbc.msn.com...



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 08:40 AM
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If they would suspend all students from school here that dropped the f-bomb or said kaa-kaa from time to time (which is for belgium by definition a foreign language) there would be noone in school, including teachers!

Mod Edit: Sanitized some language

[edit on 9-12-2005 by ZeddicusZulZorander]



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 08:56 AM
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I am sorry, but i have to agree with it. This kid was in Alternative school because he was a trouble maker. Those teachers deal with so much on a day to day basis. We are not talking your typical high school here. They cant speak spanish for good reason. They are not trying to be butt heads, they are trying to keep the kids safe. This kid was told repeatedly not to speak spanish, yet he did it again. He is playing the innocent card and I dont buy it. Maybe it was an innocent conversation this time. That is not the point here.



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:08 AM
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Mrs Dudara, obviously you are not very familiar with the Spanish culture. We speak what is generally called "Spanglish", I speak to my mother, brother like this as well...Its just how latins incorporate both languages. Unless they were being watched for making drug deals in Spanish, i would say they did nothing wrong.

Spanglish is a combination of English and Spanish..its a slang thing, but that is the way Spaniards merge both languages. Try to deal with this.



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:08 AM
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mrsdudara, let me ask you, if the kid had been told repeatedly not to do something else totally benign, like speak pig-latin, rub his eyes, whisper, smile or use sign language, would it still be a case for suspension? How much control over personal behavior really belongs to the staff of a school? Regardless of this kid's behavior problems, teachers don't just get to have complete control over the behavior of another human being.

I disagree with school and it's good to see that this kid was let back into school.

We need to remember that these 'challenges' to personal freedom happen a lot. What's important is the outcome. The charge was dropped and the kid was let back in school. The situation was rectified.

If he's a problem child, then deal with the problem, but this attempt at total personal control is BS.

[edit on 9-12-2005 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:17 AM
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mrsdudara

I think I need to explain something here, I was a school teacher and "Alternative school" is not all for "Problematic students"

My son attended 6 month of "Alternative School" because a problem with his reading not because he was a "Problematic Student" and yes he did had to be in the same classroom with diciplinary problem children because most of the class work is done in a computer lab, so now that is clarified let go back to the subject.

As a Spanish teacher and a Spanish person I agree with Dg.

I believe it was racial motivated, occurs speaking in Spanish in classrooms while the teachers are conducting class in English is rude and it does mandate a ticket to the principals office but not a suspension from school.

[edit on 9-12-2005 by marg6043]



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:23 AM
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I dont think it is BS at all. Comparing this with "dont rub your eyes" is crazy. It is not the same thing. They are not allowed to wear doo rags. Some would say that is aginst our rights too, but those doo rags cause trouble and violence. Kids grouping up and speaking another language other than english causes trouble. Yes it totaly sucks that that causes trouble, but facts are facts. These schools are trying their best to stay open, and educate the kids so that they can have a chance at a good life. How the heck is that wrong? If not allowing kids to speak anything other than English keeps the violence down then I say do it. I sure as heck dont want to see these schools shut down and a bunch of kids loose their chance at a decent future. The only reason they let the kid back in was because of fear of more violence. These poor teachers dont stand a chance, yet they still keep on trying. Now that the principal was undermined, you watch, the violence is going to be outragous.



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:28 AM
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mrsdudara

Your response seems like such a complete overreaction to me...




Kids grouping up and speaking another language other than english causes trouble. Yes it totaly sucks that that causes trouble, but facts are facts.


Explain to me how language causes trouble? If someone is inclined to cause trouble, they will do so regardless of what language they speak.

Moreover, I am having trouble verifying that Endeavor Alternative School is a school for troubled students. According to this site, it is listed as a "Regular (non-vocational) school."

Some other interesting statistics...

Total Students = 173 students

% Male = 47%
% Female = 53%

Total Classroom Teachers 4 teachers (1 ea. for grades 9-12)

% American Indian = 1%
% Asian = 2%
% Hispanic = 17%
% Black = 12%
% White = 69%

So, that makes for a total of 30 Hispanic students.

Sounds like a real rinky-dink school to me.

BH,
I totally agree.


[edit on 9-12-2005 by loam]



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:30 AM
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Mrs Dudara,

Am i missing something? Where is there any mention of violence?


Or are you automatically assuming Spanish=violence?

hmmm...



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:31 AM
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I don't know about the violence only motivated by one group, teachers do have a hard time even in regular classrooms with violent students.

I had a fight in my classroom in one school year and the two boys that got into the fight were not regular students they were in my Gifted group and children from very strong homes.

So violence in the classroom can come from anything, specially in this time and age when we are not allowed to do anything anymore when it comes to imposed rules and punishments.

Teachers has been rob of that right because to many law sue and discrimination issues.



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:34 AM
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dgtempe

Agreed. In my opinion, a completely racist viewpoint...notwithstanding mrsdudara's benign intentions...

That is not a personal attack, just an observation that sometimes we hold prejudicial beliefs despite our best intentions.



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:41 AM
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I don't know what to say about this. In 9th grade I went to a Jesuit high school overseas ( www.xaviermicronesia.org... , if anyone's interested) with people whose native languages were not English). they had a rule saying the only languages permitted during class time were English and Latin. But that was a private school, and the rules were different.

If this school had an "English Only" rule in place, then I don't see the problem with the kid being suspended, although I think such a rule would be kind of hard to implement and enforce.

This is another example, though, of what hapens with our government-monopoly schools. If Americans were free to choose the school they wanted with their kids without being forced to pay for the government schools at the same time, then the parents could pick what kind of school -- bilingual, monoloingual, religious, non-religious, etc. -- and everyone would be happy.

But until we allow freedom-of-choice education by breaking the economic monopoly the government has on our schools, you're going to see this same problem over and over again, whether with Spanish, religion, dress codes, etc.



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:46 AM
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I say these things because I live in the area. I know that that school is where the kids go when they get kicked out or drop out of their high schools. It is their last chance to get a diploma.
No I am not in any way saying spanish=violence. I am saying that speaking spanish in school opens another door for discrimination amoung peers which causes violence. Many public schools in the area have uniforms even because of the violence due to discriminating over shoes or how you wore your shirt, or what brand of jeans they wore. Eleminating causes for discrimination is the only chance these teachers have. The fact is that when kids group up and speak another language that others do not understand then those other kids get pissed off. I am not saying I think it is OK. It is just the way it is.

dgtempe, we have discussed many things over the year, I find it insulting that you or anyone else try to pin racism on me. That was a total low blow.

[edit on 9-12-2005 by mrsdudara]



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:56 AM
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"The fact is that when kids group up and speak another language that others do not understand then those other kids get pissed off. I am not saying I think it is OK. It is just the way it is." -MrsDudara

This is not a true statement at all. I've been to many schools in the United States, throughout the country, and i found this not to be a problem at all- Anyway, you are certainly entitled to your opinion.




NOTE: Mrs. Dudara, i meant no harm. I'm simply telling you the way it is.


[edit on 9-12-2005 by dgtempe]



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 10:51 AM
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In my (few) years of experience teaching school in a very poor area, speaking another language was not a problem. Back then, as a teacher, I worked to educate myself in that language (Spanish) so I could be alert to trouble... just as I was when I listened to English conversations.

I do think the best solution is for the teachers to learn the language.

This issue is somewhat of a sore point for me, after having taken a class on Native American issues. You see, students were taken from reservations (often forciably) and put into schools where they were told to speak English only and were punished harshly for any Indian objects or languages.

So, from two different aspects, I think that the school is wrong. And DGTempe's right... most of the "spanish" spoken is really "Spanglish" or TexMex; a type of creole that can be learned pretty quickly by teachers... learned well enough to tell the difference between "I"m doing drug deals" and "me and the homies are going to whup you after school" and "Did you get that homework?" or "did you get that job?"

...just my 2 pfennigs worth...



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 11:26 AM
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Granted, I graduated 10 years ago. When I was in school there were quite a few fights because of it. Maybe times have changed. That would be nice. This school has a rule to speak English only for what ever reason. This kid knew that and had been corrected quite a few times on the matter. If he chose to continue to break the rules, what else are they supposed to do?

[edit on 9-12-2005 by mrsdudara]



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 11:32 AM
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Originally posted by mrsdudara
I am sorry, but i have to agree with it. This kid was in Alternative school because he was a trouble maker. Those teachers deal with so much on a day to day basis. We are not talking your typical high school here. They cant speak spanish for good reason. They are not trying to be butt heads, they are trying to keep the kids safe. This kid was told repeatedly not to speak spanish, yet he did it again. He is playing the innocent card and I dont buy it. Maybe it was an innocent conversation this time. That is not the point here.


mrsdudara - If you research Canada's residential schools for aboriginal indians - it will help you consolidate your arguments.

Another great find loam.



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 11:40 AM
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Well imo they are in America and they should be forced to speak English if they want to assimilate among us!

Just kidding.


Seriously, when I think of how many times I have tried to convince my own kids to learn a second language, I could scream at a policy such as this. Imo, being multi-lingual is one of the best things a kid can do to prepare for the future. The globe is truly shrinking.

I'm not keen on something like ebonics, though. That isn't a merge of two languages, just a bastardization of one language.

Good to see the school has rescinded this stupid policy.



posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 11:49 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
Well imo they are in America and they should be forced to speak English if they want to assimilate among us!



I'm not keen on something like ebonics, though. That isn't a merge of two languages, just a bastardization of one language.

I agree with you, but its been this way for so long, i doubt if anyone can change what people feel comfortable in doing.



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