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Hispanics Sue Diocese And School Over English Only

with 5 comments

More bullying from immigrant families over enforcement of a diocese-wide English only rule in schools. This lawsuit isn’t in New Mexico, Texas, or California, but in the Midwest – Kansas!

Four Hispanic families are suing St. Anne’s Catholic School over a policy that requires students to speak English at all times while at school.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, calls for an end to the policy and asks for an order barring similar policies at other diocese schools. It seeks the return of one student to the school who was allegedly kicked out for refusing to sign the “English only” pledge. And it asks for court costs and unspecified damages for discrimination and emotional suffering.

“Language is an essential characteristic of one’s national origin,” according to the complaint filed in the case. “The ban on Spanish at St. Anne’s created an atmosphere of intimidation, inferiority and isolation for Hispanic students.”

They are living in the United States, to preserve their culture, shouldn’t they then stay in Mexico?
The Wichita Diocese does not charge tuition to its students and the St. Anne’s Catholic School faculty have to put up with abuse and lawsuits?

The diocese has said the school enacted the policy in response to four students who were using Spanish to bully others and to put down teachers and administrators.

The majority of the school’s 243 students are white. It has 75 Hispanic students, 27 Asian students and two who are black.

The parents claim in their lawsuit that since the school receives federal money for its free and reduced-price lunch program, it is subject to federal anti-discrimination laws. The district contends it is the students who receive the federal funding.

The students named in the lawsuit are bilingual U.S. citizens with no disciplinary records, court documents contend.

Lawyers for the Hispanic families contend bullying was not the initial reason the school enacted the policy, citing a letter the school sent saying that the more students are immersed in the English language the better their chance for improvement and success.

In a call to St. Anne’s Catholic School, which educates students, pre-school through 8th grade, Kathy Harter, school secretary said that Principal Sr. Margaret Nugent could not answer questions due to attending mass with the school’s kindergarten class. In a later return call back, Ms. Harter said that the incidents of bullying, shouting back in Spanish, and disrespect to the teachers leading to the English-only ruling were well documented. The diligent teachers involved have careers spanning 25-30 years, but did not speak or understand Spanish. The disruptive girls’ body language and classmates translating the Spanish were part of the documentation.
The school is NCA accredited with the faculty having a total of 362.5 years of teaching experience, with 164.5 spent with St. Anne’s Catholic School.

Both reasons that the school administration have provided, bullying and successful integration into the United States job market, are valid reasons to exercise control over school discipline.

Ms. Harter said that the phones had been ringing off the hook all day due to the volume of supportive phone calls from all over the country.

St. Anne’s Mission Statement says: “At St. Anne School, we are all Christian disciples committed to life-long learning and growth.” I hope that the school and diocese win their case and that the Hispanic immigrants grow in their respect for their teachers and more tolerance of speaking English. If they want to abuse their teachers and classmates in Spanish, they should go back home to Mexico and abuse their own homeland.


Written by smalltalkwitht

May 21, 2008 at 1:25 pm

5 Responses

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  1. Another way to shaft the Catholic Church. Another way to get money out of the Church. This “speak English only” should be a non issue in this country. I’m getting tired of “press 1 for English.”


    May 22, 2008 at 2:45 am

  2. I think St Anne’s should immediately set a tuition and tell the federal government they are no longer in need of their services. Then they should expel any student who refused to abide by the English only rule. Then they should investigate and make sure every kid at that school is here legally. If they are not , report the parents to INS. Either these kids are there to learn or they are not. It is time we took back our culture from those determined to destroy it.


    May 22, 2008 at 7:35 am

  3. Hey when I’m in Rome, I have to do what the Romans do. When your in America, you do what the Americans do, so speak english. This is nonsense suing because they require english.


    May 22, 2008 at 3:59 pm

  4. My father was so proud and appreciative of all that came with becoming an American citizen, he enforced the talking “English Only” rule.. upon himself! He was so proud of his new country AND was eager to assimilate! The immigrants of today have their own and different guidelines..if you don’t like it, “sue.” I’m appalled by this entire story.


    May 22, 2008 at 7:37 pm

  5. I hope they fight the “good fight” and win!

    Congrats on you for calling them, great job!


    May 22, 2008 at 8:47 pm

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