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HEMPSTEAD, Texas -- Pass through Hempstead, and you can t help but think main street America. While the face of America may be changing ... what about its voice?

All my grandparents are from the Czech Republic, said Robert Rosenkranz. The first thing they did was learn to speak English so they could get ahead in this country.

This sleepy little town finds itself immersed in a debate over language. Students at Hempstead Middle School say principal Amy Lacey announced over the P.A. they were being banned from speaking Spanish in class in an attempt to prevent disruptions.

There s one teacher in class that said if you speak Spanish in my class, I m going to write you up, said 8th grader Tiffani Resurez.

Turns out no students have been punished, but the principal has. She s been placed on administrative leave with pay by the school district, which says it has no policies prohibiting the use of Spanish.

I would her because she s right, said Ruth Zboril. How else are they going to assimilate?

Others here point to the fact that Waller County has one of the fastest growing Hispanic communities in the nation.

This is a county that s still learning how to get along, said attorney Sylvia Cedilla. learning how to play well with others, and they would probably get a D if they were getting graded on it.

And perhaps, she says, they should stay after class.

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