Opinion: School wrong to bench student for Native language

"Only in America can saying "I love you" merit a senseless punishment.

Just days after I wrote a column about the need for this country to not only ensure that all its public school students are fluent in English but also be able to communicate in other languages comes this story out of Shawano, Wis.: A 12-year-old was punished by a teacher for speaking a few non-English words in class.

Miranda Washinawatok said she was reprimanded by her Sacred Heart Catholic School homeroom teacher for "attitude issues" so egregious that the seventh-grader was benched from playing in her school's basketball game that evening.

Washinawatok, a bilingual student who speaks her family's native Menominee language, said the words "posoh" and "Ketapanen" which mean, respectively, "Hello" and "I love you" to two of her classmates."

Get the Story:
Esther J. Cepeda: Out-of-touch school punishes girl for saying 'I love you' (The Salem Statesman-Journal 2/10)

Also Today:
Benching could result in cultural lessons for Catholic schools (The Shawano Leader 2/9)

Related Stories:
School apologizes to student for using Menominee in class (2/2)
Student reprimanded for using Menominee words at school (1/30)

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