Society

Fired Texas Principal Amy Lacey Claims She Did Not Ban Spanish At Her School

| by Jared Keever

A Texas principal, who was fired for asking that Hispanic students at her middle school only speak English in class, has finally told her side of the story.

The Daily Mail reports Amy Lacey recently sent a letter to the Houston Chronicle explaining the reasons she made the request. In the letter, she claims she was only following state guidelines and hoping to prepare students to perform well on state tests. 

Lacey was placed on administrative leave last year after she made the request over the intercom at Hempstead Middle School outside of Houston. She learned in March that the Hempstead school board would not be renewing her contract. 

Her lawyer, Mark Robinett, said at the time the dismissal “appears to be retaliation against her because she made a statement which she had every right to say. Basically, it was, ‘Look, kids, we want you to learn English.’”

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He disputed claims that Lacey banned the use of Spanish everywhere on campus, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“There was no ban,” Robinett said. “There were no consequences for speaking Spanish in class. In fact, Ms. Lacey stated her respect for the Hispanic culture and language.”

That is the same story Lacey told in her recent letter. 

“I informed students it would be best to speak English in the classrooms to the extent possible, in order to help prepare them for [state] tests,” she wrote.

“It is important to note that I did not ban the use of Spanish anywhere in the school or at any time,” she added, saying that claims of racism in the school were unfounded. 

“... (T)eachers had reported to me that they had experienced instances in which students had been asked to stop talking during instruction, and they responded that it was their right to speak Spanish — ignoring the fact that they shouldn't have been speaking [in any language] during class without permission,” the letter read. “The perception of the teachers was that students were being disrespectful and disrupting learning, and they believed they could get away with it by claiming racism.”

Lacey maintains she did nothing wrong and the story was blown out of proportion. 

But Hempstead Superintendent Delma Flores-Smith said the principal was fired for more than just her controversial announcement over the intercom.  

The formal notice of termination Lacey received from the board listed eight reasons for not renewing her contract. Those included failure to fulfill her duties, incompetence or inefficiency, inability to maintain discipline, insubordination and failure to meet professional conduct standards.

Flores-Smith declined to cite specific examples of such infractions.

Sources: Daily Mail, Houston Chronicle

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