Four Wichita families filed a discrimination lawsuit Monday in federal court against St. Anne Catholic School over a policy that requires English to be spoken at all times during the school day.
The lawsuit calls for an end to St. Anne’s policy, an order barring English-only or similar policies at other diocese schools and $75,000 for court and other costs.
The families want students to be able to speak other languages if they choose during their free time — not in the classroom or during instructional times.
A diocese spokesman called the discrimination suit “unfortunate,” saying the Catholic church has a history of offering support and services to minorities and of speaking out for immigrant rights.
But one of the parents behind the suit said he’s concerned that the English-only policy could spread.
“I think if one school is granted their wish by not allowing their students to speak another language, then other schools will follow suit,” said Michael Silva.
St. Anne’s language policy has been in effect since September.
The lawsuit claims that the policy “has created and continues to promote racial and national origin discrimination.. “
Diocese spokesman Fred Solis said he cannot agree with the discrimination claim.
“We have to disagree with the notion that the church, or the diocese or St. Anne for that matter is or has discriminated against any member of a minority group given our history, and the many ways that, even today, we go about to speak out on behalf of immigrants, minorities and the many services we offer to those groups of people,” he said.
The school, its principal, Sister Margaret Nugent, the parish and the Catholic Diocese of Wichita are named defendants in the lawsuit.
Initially, I thought that it was a little strange to ban other languages during free time. What’s the point of that?, I wondered.
And then I saw this little nugget:
The diocese has said the school enacted the policy in response to four students who were using Spanish to bully others and to put down teachers and administrators.
The students’ first language also is English, not Spanish. So what’s the problem here? It isn’t like these students can’t understand English.
Like the school’s policy or not, here’s the kicker — it’s a private school. Any funding the school receives goes to its students, not the school itself. So that school, as far as I’m concerned, can make whatever policies they want. They can require students to speak only in Pig Latin for all I care. If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to take your children elsewhere.
And of course, it won’t matter how the rest of the student population and their families feel about the English-only policy. They could all support it, but if a few minority families change, we have to buckle under to please them. Isn’t that how it works nowadays?
Hat Tip: Moonbattery