It is also, unofficially at least, a multi-lingual nation.
We still do not have, under federal statute, an official "national language."
English is still the predominant tongue, but is not exclusive.
But apparently a teacher and a principal at a public High School in Kansas City, Kansas thought it should be, at least in *thier* fiefdom.
From today's Washington Post(Spanish At School Translates to Suspension):
KANSAS CITY, Kan., Dec. 8 -- Most of the time, 16-year-old Zach Rubio converses in clear, unaccented American teen-speak, a form of English in which the three most common words are "like," "whatever" and "totally." But Zach is also fluent in his dad's native language, Spanish -- and that's what got him suspended from school.
"It was, like, totally not in the classroom," the high school junior said, recalling the infraction. "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.' "
But that conversation turned out to be a big problem for the staff at the Endeavor Alternative School, a small public high school in an ethnically mixed blue-collar neighborhood. A teacher who overheard the two boys sent Zach to the office, where Principal Jennifer Watts ordered him to call his father and leave the school.
Watts, whom students describe as a disciplinarian, said she can't discuss the case. But in a written "discipline referral" explaining her decision to suspend Zach for 1 1/2 days, she noted: "This is not the first time we have [asked] Zach and others to not speak Spanish at school."
Note that this was a *private conversation.*
The issue was not that there was any suspicision of "plotting" anything, but just that the principal doesn't want Spanish spoken in the school.
And there is no actual policy to back up this principal's action:
"So I went to the principal and said, 'My son, he's not suspended for fighting, right? He's not suspended for disrespecting anyone. He's suspended for speaking Spanish in the hall?' So I asked her to show me the written policy about that. But they didn't have" one.
Rubio then called the superintendent of the Turner Unified School District, which operates the school. The district immediately rescinded Zach's suspension, local media reported. The superintendent did not respond to several requests to comment for this article.
Since then, the issue of speaking Spanish in the hall has not been raised at the school, Zach said. "I know it would be, like, disruptive if I answered in Spanish in the classroom. I totally don't do that. But outside of class now, the teachers are like, 'Whatever.' "