RPS superintendent horrified by exchange between teacher and Spanish-speaking student
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The head of Richmond Public Schools is apologizing for what he calls a “horrific” exchange between a Boushall Middle School teacher and a sixth grader.
“We condemn what was said, reject it wholly and are addressing it,” said Jason Kamras, Richmond Public Schools superintendent.
Over the course of five minutes, the teacher can be heard telling the female student only English is allowed in her classroom, calling the student ignorant and telling her to shut up.
“I told one of my friends, ‘Oh you don’t have friends in Spanish because we joke around like that,’ and that teacher started yelling at me, telling me I couldn’t speak Spanish,” said the sixth-grade student.
The young girl and her mother spoke to NBC12 with the condition we withhold their identities.
“She just kept saying that it just wasn’t allowed in here in America. You speak English, and if I wanted to speak Spanish then to go to wherever that Spanish-speaking country is,” said the student.
Kamras says he’s seen the video and couldn’t believe the words coming from the teacher’s mouth. But he’s glad the student kept calm.
“I have to say I was also quite proud of the student who was incredibly thoughtful and mature, and I think really an example of the greatness inherent in our students,” said Kamras.
The middle school teacher is on administrative leave while an investigation is underway.
“I just wanted that no other Hispanic kid would go through the same thing that I did,” said the student.
Kamras is promising the division will do better.
“We want to make sure that we are very clearly articulating expectations around how we talk to students, how we honor our students’ identity, how we honor staff members’ identity as well, everybody,” said Kamras.
Meanwhile, the student’s mother also told us she is worried about sending her daughter to school because this has been an ongoing issue with other ESL students within RPS.
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