There’s a lot to unpack in this story.
HEMPSTEAD – The Hempstead school board won’t renew the contract of a principal who instructed her students not to speak Spanish, in a rapidly-evolving district where more than half of the students, like many Texas schools, are now Hispanic.
Hempstead Middle School Principal Amy Lacey was placed on paid administrative leave in December after reportedly announcing, via intercom, that students were not to speak Spanish on the school’s campus. The Hispanic population of the rural area, roughly 50 miles northwest of Houston, is growing quickly, and Latino advocates say that it’s important to allow Spanish in public schools.
“When you start banning aspects of ethnicity or cultural identity,” says Augustin Pinedo, director of the League of United Latin American Citizens Region 18, “it sends the message that the child is not wanted: ‘We don’t want your color. We don’t want your kind.’ They then tend to drop out early.”
I actually agree with that last quote, just not its trajectory. It is true that if you send the message that something about kids makes them unwanted, you hurt those kids and their future.
Now, what messages have our public schools been sending over the past decade or two?
Males are less desirable than females, and a male who acts like a male stands a strong chance of being labeled ADHD and drugged out of being a young male. A kindergarten boy who has no idea what sexual harassment is can get suspended from school for sexual harassment these days.
Christianity has been all but driven from our public schools. Prayers before football games have been litigated to death. When a valedictorian quotes a Bible verse or acknowledges God, all Hell breaks out.
Our public schools tend to punish any expression of support for the Second Amendment. Wear an NRA shirt to school — get suspended. When a six-year-old boy makes a gun shape with his fingers, he gets suspended. Even when a little kid draws an innocent picture or says “Bang!” to a pal, he gets suspended. Kids playing around with airsoft guns on their own property after school get suspended from school and have their academic careers ruined.
In all of the above examples, the school administrators are never punished. They keep their jobs. And the kids get the message. Kids who get bullied in today’s schools also get the message that if they defend themselves, they will be punished right along with their bully. If the bully gets punished at all.
Public schools in the hands of unions and addle-brained administrators are sending all kinds of messages to children, and many of those messages are terrible.
Now, about this principal in this story. I was on the radio with my friend Chris Salcedo earlier today, and he made a great point that hadn’t occurred to me. Having everyone speak the same language in a school is a safety issue. Whether facing a fire or an accident or even a school shooter, it will help no one if all the students are not proficient in English. Lack of proficiency in English will lead to confusion and could even get people killed. Additionally, English is the dominant language in Texas and the United States. It’s going to limit a student’s potential if they do not become proficient in English. Speaking two or more languages proficiently is better than one, and it’s easier to learn multiple languages at a young age.
In all the cases noted above, principals, administrators and teachers kept their jobs. In this one case, a principal has made a reasonable demand of the students in her charge, a decision that will help them in the short run and the long run, and the usual liberal groups cried foul and the school has rewarded her by firing her.
That sends a message, too.