Students are being asked not to speak Spanish on their bus ride in the 68-student Esmeralda County School District in Nevada--and decision has prompted an outcry and concern about its legality.
A letter from superintendent Robert Aumaugher specifically targets a small group of about a dozen Hispanic students who are bused to the neighboring Nye County. In an article in the Pahrump Valley Times, Aumaugher said “I see no reason why the Hispanic population can’t be doctors and lawyers and everything else. But to do that they’re going to need to make sacrifices.” According to the article, Aumaugher was motivated to make the request after hearing data on the differences between the graduation rates of white and Hispanic students.
The ACLU has responded by requesting Esmeralda County to immediately rescind the ban on Spanish. In a letter to the superintendent, the ACLU states that by prohibiting the use of a specific language the school district is a violation of free speech rights and sends an incorrect message that Spanish-speakers are inferior.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.