Published March 19, 2014
A Texas school board proposed Wednesday to not renew the contract of a principal who allegedly banned students from speaking Spanish on a middle school campus, MyFoxHouston.com reported.
Amy Lacey, the middle school principal in Hempstead, has been on paid administrative leave since late last year. She allegedly announced over the school's intercom that Spanish would not be tolerated on campus. Hempstead is a small town about an hour northwest of Houston.
"Students were shamed until they did not want to come to school anymore," Salina Moreno, an attorney with the Latin Legal Voice, told MyFoxHouston.com. Some Latino organizations are calling on the FBI to investigate possible civil rights violations.
Latino advocates say the Hispanic population in the area is growing and allowing Spanish in public schools is important.
"When you start banning aspects of ethnicity or cultural identity, 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," Augustin Pinedo, director of the League of United Latin American Citizens Region 18, told The Houston Chronicle.
The League of United Latin American Citizens is asking the FBI to investigate recent incidents involving the Hempstead school district to determine if they are possible hate crimes.
"There was an incident in February where brake lines were cut on buses, three school buses," Laurie Bettis, a school district spokeswoman, said.
The vandals also left behind the remains of a dead cat. The school district is now looking at installing more surveillance cameras at the bus depot.
The district's superintendent, who is Hispanic, has stated strangers are watching her house and taking pictures.
But school district officials point out they have nothing to connect these recent incidents to the controversy over the principal's alleged ban on speaking Spanish in class, the MyFoxHouston.com report said.