JANUARY 10, 2007
A Minnesota public school district with a huge immigrant population actually punished three children for speaking English on the school bus.
The children attend a public school in the St. Paul School District, where roughly 30% of the 41,000 students are Hmong (China and Southeast Asia). Hmongs also make up one of the city’s largest ethnic groups. The three English-speaking children, all siblings, were reprimanded by the public school bus driver when they boarded in the morning and were told that they would not be picked up again or taken home that afternoon. The offense? Speaking English instead of Hmong.
In fact, the bus driver specifically told the children – 10-year-old twin girls and their 8-year-old brother–that the route is for non-English speaking students only. Their furious mother accused the district of discrimination simply for speaking English and asked if this was still America.
School district officials apologized for what they called a mistake in stranding the children that afternoon, but justified the bus driver’s actions because that particular bus route serves a school with a high concentration of Hmong students learning English.
Most of the 669 students at the school, Phalen Lake Elementary, are Asian and don’t speak English. In fact, statistics from the Minnesota Department of Education reveal that more than half of the school’s students are limited English proficient and virtually all of them receive free or reduced lunch.
One thing is for sure, however; American taxpayer dollars fund the public school that, ironically, discriminates against American children and forbids them to speak English.
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