HEMPSTEAD, TX – Word spreads fast in a small town, and what happened at Hempstead Middle School was no rumor.
Back in November, Principal Amy Lacey told students over the announcement system that speaking Spanish was banned. Her reason, she said, was to prevent disruption in the classroom.
Neither the district nor the campus actually has such a rule, and Lacey was put on paid administrative leave while an investigation is underway.
Still, the school is divided and has been a main debate at some school board meetings.
The ordeal has even garnered the attention of the League of the United Latin American Citizens who attended Monday night’s meeting.
“It’s my understanding that this whole event started because some kid was cussing. That’s a disciplinary issue, and cussing has nothing to do with the language because you’re not supposed to cuss in English or Spanish,” said Richard Faries, Education Chair for LULAC.
The group’s District 19 Director, Agustin Pinedo, said, “They feel that they’re not acceptable, their language is not acceptable, their culture is not acceptable. So, they feel marginalized, they feel like they’re not one with the student body. And a lot of them drop out, or else a lot of them feel ashamed of their Hispanic culture, and that inhibits their further growth as well.”
Principal Lacey’s future with Hempstead Middle School is still uncertain. But whether you agree with her actions or not, it’s not OK to make an entire group of people feel unwelcome.