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  1. #1
    Senior Member fedupinwaukegan's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Waukegan, IL

    MALDEF again- Spanish speakers targeted (maddening) ... 7522.story

    [b]`Bully' contract leads to apology
    District 26 denies Spanish speakers were targeted

    By Jeff Long
    Tribune staff reporter

    December 13, 2006

    A Mt. Prospect school superintendent apologized Tuesday for a "misguided" and "unacceptable" action by an administrator at a middle school that equated speaking Spanish with bullying, with suspension possible for pupils caught speaking it.

    The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund believes that an administrator at River Trails Middle School violated the civil rights of some Spanish-speaking pupils by having them sign an agreement not to speak their native language.

    District 26 Supt. Ed Tivador, who learned of the agreement Tuesday, quickly apologized and said a new way to deal with bad behavior at school would be devised. It would not have anything to do with speaking Spanish, he said.

    Last month, 13 pupils signed a "Behavior/Bullying Contract," which stated that "Comments made in Spanish will [be] assumed to be bullying."

    Not all of the pupils who signed the contract spoke Spanish, Tivador said. River Trails, 1000 Wolf Rd., Mt. Prospect, has 550 pupils.

    The agreement, dated Nov. 15, also reads: "I understand that I am not to verbally or non-verbally bully any student on the bus, at the bus stop, in the halls, in the cafeteria, and/or in any class."

    The contract was devised after a group of pupils taunted another pupil, according to Tivador, who said all of them spoke Spanish.

    "Because not all of our teachers are Spanish-speaking, it's difficult for them to understand what's being said," he said.

    That led to the "contract," which Tivador described as a way to emphasize that bullying would not be tolerated.

    "It was a tactic that was misplaced, misguided, but well-intended," the superintendent said.

    Tivador would not identify the administrator who drafted the agreement or say whether disciplinary action will be taken.

    The defense fund's lawyer, Ricardo Meza, called it outrageous. "They're treating a class of students different--Spanish-speaking students," he said.

    Parents began hearing about the contract last week and went to the defense fund. One mother got a copy of the contract from the school Monday and passed it along to Meza, who immediately contacted the school.

    Meza's letter asked the school to stop automatically assuming that a pupil speaking Spanish is bullying another pupil.

    Parents of pupils who signed the agreement will get a phone call apologizing, and administrators at the school will take sensitivity training, Tivador said.

    Tivador said a new agreement about bullying--in which a pupil only promises not to do it--will be adopted.

    Two pupils have served in-school suspensions since signing the contract.

    Meza alleges it was because they spoke Spanish.

    Tivador said the two suspensions were for bullying, not for speaking Spanish.

    None of the parents Meza talked to was aware that the contract existed until last week, according to the lawyer.

    Juan Carlos Salgado said through a translator Tuesday that his son was one of the two who served a one-day suspension last month. Salgado had been told the suspension was for harassing another pupil.

    Salgado's son has told him that it was because a teacher heard him speaking Spanish to his cousin, Salgado said.

    Although Tivador would not discuss specifics, citing confidentiality laws, he said Salgado's account was not accurate.

    "It happened during lunch time," Salgado said through the translator. "There are other languages spoken in the school."

    Tivador said the contract is particularly embarrassing because the district prides itself on diversity, with an enrollment that speaks 36 languages besides English.

    Three hundred fifty-seven of 1,554 pupils speak Spanish, according to the district's Web site. Other languages range from Polish to Thai.

    "In our growing diverse world, sometimes there's a lack of sensitivity," he said of the contract. "And this is an example of that."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member IndianaJones's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    the district prides itself on diversity
    The pride should be in educating honorable young people. What is prideful about diversity more than not being diverse? Are the french not proud because they are only french or are the itallians not proud? Politcal correctness = bunk.
    We are NOT a nation of immigrants!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    The best way to become fluent in English is to immerse yourself in it. It won't hurt them a bit to speak it at school. One of the most important parts of their education is learning, speaking, reading and writing in English!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    May 2005
    Heart of Dixie
    Juan Carlos Salgado said through a translator Tuesday that his son was one of the two who served a one-day suspension last month. Salgado had been told the suspension was for harassing another pupil.
    I wonder what his status is?
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