A middle school principal in Texas finds herself on paid leave after reportedly making an announcement last month that students weren’t allowed to speak Spanish in class. More than 50 percent of the students at the school are Hispanic.
A Hempstead school district spokesperson confirmed that Amy Lacey has been placed on leave pending investigation of her announcement on the intercom at Hempstead Middle School on Nov. 12, according to ABC News.
KHOU reports that it took more than two weeks for a letter to be sent home by the superintendent after Lacey’s announcement at school. The letter that went home on Dec. 2 stated that “neither the district or any campus has any policy prohibiting the speaking of Spanish.”
Sixth-grade student Kiara Lozano told KHOU, “People don’t want to speak it no more, and they don’t want to get caught speaking it because they’re going to get in trouble.”
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“There’s one teacher that said, if you speak Spanish in my class, I’m going to write you up,” eighth-grader Tiffani Resurez added.
Parents have also expressed concern and one wanted to know why the principal would make the announcement in the first place.
Laurie Bettis, a Hempstead ISD spokesperson, released a written statement. Part of it read as follows:
We are continuing to ‘Create a Culture of Excellence’ which includes embracing all students of all cultural and diverse backgrounds. Our priorities are our students.
“The district has received allegations regarding this issue and the district is investigating the matter. At this time the administrator is on administrative leave with pay until the investigation is completed and appropriate action is determined. This is all we can say at this time as there is a pending investigation on this matter.
“The district is committed to efficiently and effectively resolving this matter with as little disruption to our students and their learning environment as possible.