Knight Ridder News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Superintendent Bobby Allen of the Turner School District has issued a personal apology to a high school junior suspended for speaking Spanish in school.
The student was sent home from Endeavor Alternative School last week after he used his native language at lunch and again later in the day. Principal Jennifer Watts sent the student home Nov. 28 and suspended him through the following day.
She told his father that the suspension was a direct result of his son's speaking Spanish, district officials said.
The father, who could not be reached for comment, took the matter directly to the superintendent. Within hours the superintendent reversed the punishment.
"As soon as he found out, he contacted the parent and said that should not have happened," said Bart Swartz, the district's executive director of certified personnel.
Swartz said students are not forbidden to speak Spanish at Endeavor or any other school in the district. He said he knew of no other student suspended under such circumstances.
"It absolutely surprised us, and to our knowledge this has never happened before," Swartz said.
Swartz could not comment on any disciplinary action taken against employees in the matter, other than to say that Watts continued to work for the district.
Watts did not return phone calls seeking comment.