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Civil rights group calls for SISD teacher who told student to "Speak English" to be banned

David Cross

CBS 4News

Nov 22, 2019

EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) — A Latino civil rights organization is calling for a Socorro Independent School District substitute teacher who was caught on video telling a student to, “Speak English. We’re in America.” to be permanently disqualified from instructing students.

The video, recorded in a sophomore English class Tuesday, shows the substitute teacher addressing a male Hispanic student with remarks some called racist.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, issued a statement Friday demanding the Texas Education Agency and SISD to ban the teacher.

“The substitute teacher caught on camera telling a student to ‘Speak English’ must be permanently banned from instructing students effective immediately. Teachers and all school staff are meant to be leaders and mentors to our children – not racists who harbor anti-immigrant sentiments,” said Domingo Garcia, national president of LULAC. “From 1918 until the Texas Bilingual Act in 1969, Texas laws banned Spanish in public schools and many of us remember personally that this was enforced with humiliating corporal punishment in schools. It is abominable that this institutionalized racism against the Hispanic community in Texas hasn’t ended.”

“The days when a Hispanic student’s mouth would get washed with soap for speaking Spanish are long gone,” said Mary Yañez, El Paso district director of LULAC. “We ask the Socorro Independent School District to investigate this matter and if racial comments were made by the teacher, she should be banned from teaching.”

SISD officials gave the following response to the incident on Wednesday:

The incident in this video is being investigated. Appropriate action, per our employee code of conduct policies, will be taken.