A Texas school board voted earlier this week not to renew the contract of a middle school principal who drew national controversy after telling students they could not speak Spanish in class.
The Hempstead School Board voted that Amy Lacey’s contract would not be renewed in light of a November 12, 2013 announcement over the school’s intercom about Spanish not being allowed to be spoken in school. Lacey has been out on paid administrative leave since the incident.
In Hempstead, a town of about 6,000 about 50 miles northwest of Houston, more than 50 percent of the school enrollment students is Hispanic. KHOU-TV of Houston reports a letter was sent by the district to school parents on December 2 assuring that neither the district nor any campus has any policy banning speaking Spanish.
“People don’t want to speak it no more, and they don’t want to get caught speaking it because they’re going to get in trouble,” sixth-grade student Kiara Lozano told KHOU-TV.
Some students believe the principal's announcement gave a green light to students, teachers and administrators to discriminate.
“There’s one teacher that said, 'If you speak Spanish in my class, I’m going to write you up',” said eighth-grader Tiffani Resurez to the local TV station.
In a written statement, school district spokeswoman Laurie Bettis said the district is committed to "embracing all students of all cultural and diverse backgrounds."
“The district has received allegations regarding this issue and the district is investigating the matter," Bettis said. "This is all we can say at this time as there is a pending investigation on this matter."