An English teacher at a New Jersey high school told students to stop speaking to each other in Spanish, telling them to “speak American” instead.
The incident, recorded on a cell phone camera, has sparked outrage among students, who are planning a protest. After the video went viral online, some are calling for the teacher to be fired.
Several students are planning a walk-out on Monday in protest. Others intend to bring flags that represent their heritage.
The teacher, angry after telling the students to stop whispering to each other in Spanish several times, said speaking Spanish in America isn’t what members of the armed forces are fighting for.
“Men and women are fighting are not fighting for your right to speak Spanish,” the teacher said. “They are fighting for you right to speak American.”
In the video, several students can be seen getting up from their desks and leaving the classroom after her remarks. “You’re being racist,” one student told the teacher. “I know how to speak English.”
The teacher was substituting for a senior-level math class, but teaches English at the school.
New Jersey High School Teacher Tells Students to ‘Speak American’ https://t.co/BMw07kjXqq
— Benjamin L. Stewart (@bnleez) October 16, 2017
Some students say the teacher “would single us out” in the hallways, telling them that they couldn’t speak Spanish here.
After the video went viral, students stressed that not all the teachers are like the math teacher, who they think gives the school a bad name.
According to Fox59, many of the students at the diverse Cliffside Park High School come from Spanish–speaking homes, and the teacher has a history of “degrading Spanish–speaking students.”
“If we were speaking Spanish in the hallways, she would single us out and say, ‘No, you can’t speak Spanish here,’” one student told the news station.
Another student named Nicole, who did not give her last name, told NorthJersey.com that, “As a Latina, that hit home to me. It’s 2017. People should stop being close-minded. It doesn’t show a good image to the school. I don’t want people seeing the video and people thinking that all of the teachers are like that.”
While some are calling for the teacher to be fired, others at the school are defending her, saying on social media that she is a “great person” and a “wonderful teacher,” the International Business Times reported.
The school’s principal reportedly met with students on Friday to discuss the incident. Several students say they plan to walk out of classes on Monday in protest.
The protest may be intended to draw more attention to the incident, as several students want the woman to be fired. and the school’s superintendent plans an assembly for Friday to open a dialogue about the teacher and her comments.
Teachers obviously have to work to get students to pay attention in class and stop talking to one another. It can certainly be a frustrating task. But is telling students they can’t speak Spanish, even in the hallways, worthy of being fired over?
Let us know what you think, and sound off in the comments below.