Teacher On Leave After ‘In America, You Speak English’ Comments Go Viral

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A teacher in Richmond, Virginia, was put on administrative leave after she admonished a student for speaking Spanish in class and told her to “shut up.”

Audio of the incident was posted online. The teacher from Boushall Middle School is heard telling a sixth-grade student that if she wanted to speak Spanish, she should “go wherever that Spanish-speaking country is and speak it, but when you’re in America, you’re going to speak English in the classes that they offer you.” The teacher also told the student that they should “appreciate” the English language.


Please share this. This happened at T.C. Boushall middle school. The teacher’s name is Ms. Alston. She is a 6th grade teacher

♬ original sound – igobblefood

On Monday night (April 2), the Richmond School Board welcomed community members, parents and others to speak about the incident that took place in the classroom. Members of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) were also in attendance to support the student.

According to the CBS affiliate in Richmond, a woman who identified herself as the mother of the student, spoke to board members about what she hoped would come out of the situation. “So, with this, what I want is for the Hispanics, don’t be afraid to speak out because … as parents, we have to be willing to defend our children,” she said in Spanish.

After the meeting, the student added, “I just wanted no other Hispanic kid to go through the same thing that I did.”

The school district will now conduct an investigation into the matter. “Racism, bigotry, and intolerance of any kind will not be tolerated at Richmond Public Schools (RPS),” a statement from the school district read. “Please know that RPS happily serves a diverse group of students across many races and nationalities. We will continue to support and advocate for them all.”

Jason Kamras, Richmond Public Schools superintendent, added: “We condemn what was said, reject it wholly and are addressing it. 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.”