Students at Cliffside Park High School in New Jersey staged a walk-out yesterday in protest to one of their teachers telling them to “speak American”.
Despite the fact that the Cliffside Park High School warned students that they would be disciplined, about 100 or so students walked out at about 11 AM.
In the video, the teacher at Cliffside Park High School, who has yet to be identified, allegedly said, “Men and women are fighting. They are not fighting for your right to speak Spanish. They are fighting for you right to speak American.” Students in the class immediately reacted to the comment, with one student even walking out.
A large percentage of students at Cliffside Park High School are Spanish-speaking.
On Monday, at least 50 students, some wearing or waving flags, including those of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Brazil, walked out of classes and gathered on the steps in front of the high school during the fourth period of the school day. Passing motorists honked their horns in support of the students, and residents stopped to watch.
“Everyone should know about it,” said Anthony Campos, a student.
“Mostly every student here is basically from another country,” Seda Avci, a freshman, said before classes began. “So it hurts other people, knowing that they don’t want them to speak their own language.”
The protesters said they’d been warned that those who walked out would be suspended, and that some students who had walked out had already been given suspensions, although that could not be confirmed Monday. School employees, however, took photos of students participating in the walkout.
Student Council President Kleidon Ndreu said the principal had told him that any punishment had yet to be determined.