Principal who ‘banned Spanish at school’ speaks out

Aug 6, 2014 by

She says she never banned Spanish, but just suggested Hispanic students should speak English at school to help prepare them for tests

A Texas principal who sparked national controversy after she told students at her heavily-Hispanic middle school to stop speaking Spanish in class claims she is being persecuted for following state education rules.

Amy Lacey, who was fired as principal of Hempstead Middle School outside Houston in March, says that contrary to reports from students and teacher at her school, she never banned Spanish from campus when she made a school-wide announcement on the intercom last November.

‘I informed students it would be best to speak English in the classrooms to the extent possible, in order to help prepare them for (state) tests,’ she wrote in a letter to the Houston Chronicle.

She added: ‘It is important to note that I did not ban the use of Spanish anywhere in the school or at any time.’

Speaking out for the first time, Mrs Lacey said it is state policy to teach English and the official language of the state of Texas is English. Her intent, she claims, was merely to encourage her students to use English more.

She also blamed her students – who she says claimed racism when they were disciplined in class for speaking out of turn.


‘… (T)eachers had reported to me that they had experienced instances in which students had been asked to stop talking during instruction, and they responded that it was their right to speak Spanish — ignoring the fact that they shouldn’t have been speaking (in any language) during class without permission,’ Mrs Lacey wrote in the Chronicle.

‘The perception of the teachers was that students were being disrespectful and disrupting learning, and they believed they could get away with it by claiming racism.’

Mrs Lacey lost her job over the comments, but she says she was just upholding state educational standards

Mrs Lacey lost her job over the comments, but she says she was just upholding state educational standards


Mrs Lacey’s announcement drew ire from Hispanic activists around the country. Some claimed her public announcement may have kicked off a campaign to intimidate Hispanic in the school system, the Chronicle reports.

There have even been calls for a federal Justice Department investigation.

The case also sparked conversation about the role of Spanish is Texas schools. Half of Hempstead Middle School’s students are Hispanic – on part with the state average.

Mrs Lacey still maintains she did nothing wrong – or even controversial – and that the story was simply blow wildly out of proportion.

‘When I was hired as principal of Hempstead Middle School, it was made clear to me that Hempstead Middle School was to be an ESL campus. My announcement was in accordance with board policy, as well as supporting the efforts of teachers to prepare our students to be successful,’ she wrote.

via Principal who ‘banned Spanish at school’ speaks out | Mail Online.

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