Ojo: The "Cholo Word Of The Day" is simply for fun. This is not an academic exercise, therefore I do not spend much time checking for espelling or grammatical errors. Most of the words are not only used by "cholos," but by many people in S. Texas - and their usage can vary. c/s

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Principal Punishes Spanish Speaking Student

My little brother sent me this story about a principal punishing a Mexican kid who spoke Spanish at school.

Here's the email my brother wrote:

December 9, 2005

Mrs. Watts,

I am dismayed by your decision to suspend Zach Rubio from Endeavor
Alternative for speaking Spanish in school. Mr. Rubio's bilingualism
ought to be regarded as a benefit to all of us in this increasingly
interconnected world. Language skills ought to be encouraged not

I am sure that you are aware of the precarious legal grounds upon which
you have placed yourself, your school, and the school district. I hope
that your irrational and xenophobic decision is brought to full view in a
court of law. That said, legal issues are not the most important guiding
principles that you ignored. As an educator, your responsibility is to
prepare Mr. Rubio and other students for a productive, intellectually
invigorating adulthood. Your decision shuns the economic and social
benefits of multilingualism. Moreover, your actions threaten to quash
intellectual creativity. Your attitude, as reflected by your decision to
suspend Zach, suggests a maniacal need for control.

As a former teacher and current law student, a Chicano, and the son of
immigrants, I am profoundly proud of and benefited by my bilingualism.
Your actions are shameful and unprofessional. I hope that you begin to
amend for your actions by apologizing to Mr. Rubio and his family and
proceed to institute a far reaching language instruction program at your
school that will encourage and teach the myriad advantages of



jennifer watts (principal)

cheryl waters (secretary)


Blogger chumitas said...

I can believe this.
This is just a jealous principal who is jealous of children who are bilingual.
If you are mad at people who can communicate with more people than you why punish harmless children?
I am glad these stories are getting out, finally!
Thank god for blogging too...
more will be able to learn about the injustices Mexican Amerians, and Spanish speaking latinos in the US suffer.
And then they say get over all of this and try to compete with our historical control over society and be successful.
How can we be completely successful if historically we are like that little kid, weak compared to those in power of the entire school?
This true scenario, I think, paints the pretty metaphor for how latinos who want to speak spanish are, which is helpless, against policymakers.

7:48 AM

Blogger La Brown Girl said...

I can't believe this and at the same time, I can. Thanks for blogging about this. I'm going to have to share this with my kiddos and especially, my colleagues. There's no freaking way we can allow this or continue to do this to our kids.

4:38 PM

Blogger cindylu said...

I feel sorry for your parents. They're going to have three lawyers in their family...

Just kidding. My first reaction to this story was, what? I thought this was 2005.

Your brother was awfully diplomatic to that principal.

6:26 PM

Blogger oso said...

Cindylu got to say it first. Your brother is very articulate. You should be proud.

11:30 AM

Blogger AnalisaGuzman said...

So they let so many kids get away with absolutely aberrant behavior but punish them for speaking in another language? Ridiculous. No wonder kids are confused.

5:24 PM

Blogger pinkydepinko said...

I recently finished reading Victor Villasenor's "Burro Genius". It is an inspiring memoir of this great writer's youth growing up speaking Spanish in southern Californisa public schools. He suffered shocking abuses from ignorant scared teachers, but perservered in spite of severe dyslexia to become one America's most prominent authors. And this was in the 1950's!! That this still happens today is appalling.

If you haven't read Villasenor,start with his masterpiece "Rain of Gold", the epic true saga of the great Villasenor family surviving the Mexican revolution and immigrating to America. You will love it! This will of course make you want to continue reading about this amazing family with the continuation of his family's story with "Thirteen Senses". followed by the prequel to Rain of Gold, "Wild Steps of Heaven", then finally "Burro Genius".

BTW, thank you for your amazing blog. The cholo word of the day has been particularly helpful for me as I do background dialogue in Hollywood and often get cast as latinos and such.

11:25 AM

Anonymous paulsen said...

I think that Mrs. Watts should be made to take spanish lessons to keep her job. this way when she gets cussed out in spanish for doing something so stupid, she'll understand what they are saying.

10:37 AM

Blogger traviesa said...

my whole life has been an uphill struggle with spanish in the english education system, in english classes I answer by mistake in spanish and get horrible looks and in spanish class the teacher would pick on me cuz Id talk too many words that dont really exist lol(mind you she was east indian and was mad because she doesnt know anything but the spanish in the dictionary lol)

Once they attempted to suspend me because of speaking spanish at the teacher. But of course what I said was not of good nature, but it was the end result of her telling me not to speak spanish to my best friend because "it is incredibly rude considering she cant understand"(note she did not tell the chinese people to stop); and her telling me that she does not allow my kind of people to go to the bathroom because I will just go smoke or something...the suspension got removed the following day though, I think they realised the stupidity of what they were doing, and also that they couldnt prove I said anything rude because all she remembered was gracias lol

Overall though its terrible that this sort of thing still exists but I also cannot see it disapearing in the near future...that was really long! lol

1:29 PM


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