Speak English or Else
Friday, December 09, 2005
(SNN Kansas City) Sixteen year old Zach Rubio received a school suspension for speaking two words of Spanish in a hallway to a classmate. Unlike other suspensions of this kind, no acts of procreation were suggested and no parts of the human anatomy were brought up. Zach was in fact punished for speaking two words of Spanish.
We were actually quite surprised to find out that "no problema" was Spanish.
"It was, like, totally not in the classroom," the high school junior said. "We were in the, like, hall or whatever, on restroom break. This kid I know, he's like, 'Me prestas un dolar?' ['Will you lend me a dollar?'] Well, he asked in Spanish; it just seemed natural to answer that way. So I'm like, 'No problema.' "
We were actually quite surprised to find out that "no problema" was Spanish. It is pretty easy to make the assumption that it is something that Fonzi would have said, like "Correctamundo".
A teacher who heard Rubio in the hallway sent him to the office, where he was ordered to call his father and leave the school. Rubio's principal, whose students describe as a disciplinarian to her face and as a piece of female anatomy behind her back, refuses to discuss the case with NewsBlog 5000 reporters.
Some people argue that it is important to learn to speak English in the modern United States. However, others believe it may be more important to learn to speak Spanish.
As an immigrant, I know the importance of mastering English
-- Arnold Schwarzenegger
On the pro English side sits immigrant Arnold Schwarzenegger, who vetoed a bill authorizing various subjects to be tested in Spanish in the state's public schools. "As an immigrant," the Austrian-born governor said, "I know the importance of mastering English as quickly and as comprehensively as possible." And we wish him all the luck in the world with that endeavor.
Some schools go even farther. There are schools in this country that teach Spanish as an actual subject. They encourage rich people to be bilingual. They even say that being able to speak different languages is a sign of a well-rounded individual. And, much to the chagrin of people like Governor Schwarzenegger, when they teach Spanish they test in Spanish as well.