Hempstead ISD continues to debate 'no Spanish' policy

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by Tiffany Craig / KHOU 11 News and KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on December 9, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 9 at 11:21 PM

HEMPSTEAD, Texas — At Hempstead ISD’s board meeting, the debate over language continued.

This meeting stemmed from an announcement made last month by Hempstead Middle School’s Principal Amy Lacey. On the public announcement system, she told students that speaking Spanish in the classroom was banned to prevent disruption.

That announcement has divided not only the school, but the town too.

“I support the principal,” said parent Jamie Cavender. “I really believe she did the right thing. My children don’t know if they’re being talked about or being made fun of.”

But students like Kiara Lozano feel differently.

The sixth-grader stood in front of the board and read a letter written by a classmate.

“When she realized we were speaking Spanish she began to yell at us,” Lozano read from the letter. “I believe it was wrong and clearly unprofessional.”

Outside the meeting, KHOU 11 News talked to her mother Cynthia Zamora. She doesn’t want Lacey fired, but would like her to issue an apology.

“You’re handicapping our children,” said Zamora. “You’re telling them you can’t speak Spanish, and you can’t have anyone translating for you.”

But Connie Wawarofsky said she knows Lacey personally and believes her PA announcement was to help students, not hurt them.

“I think she was trying to get the students to understand that they are being taught in English, their state testing is going to be given in English, all of their tests say you will answer in English,” she said.

Lacey is still on paid administrative leave as the district continues to investigate.

No word yet on when a decision will be made about her future with Hempstead ISD.

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