Students protest after being told “the military is fighting for you to speak American, not Spanish”


A teacher in New Jersey is accused of being a racist after cell phone footage shows her reprimanding some of her students for speaking Spanish in the classroom.

“Military men and women are not fighting for your right to speak Spanish — they’re fighting for your right to speak American,” she said.

The video of the teacher’s comments was originally posted on Snapchat by a student at Cliffside Park High School.

One of the students in the classroom, Vianery, an immigrant who came to the United States from the Dominican Republic three years ago, spoke to NBC News about the incident in the classroom.

“We were speaking about the Yankees,” she said, about the incident which took place last Thursday. The students were discussing the New York team and the baseball playoffs in Spanish, “because that’s how we feel more comfortable.”

“I laughed, because, first of all, that’s not a language,” Vianery told NBC News. “I have the right to speak Spanish. I have the right to speak English. I have the right to speak whatever language I speak, and that’s my right. There’s no law that says that I should or I must speak English.”

On Monday, 100 students walked out of school to protest despite a warning from the principal that they would be disciplined.  Someone eventually pulled the fire alarm which forced over 1,000 students to walk out of the school at around 11 a.m.

The teacher, who has only been identified as an English teacher substituting an Algebra class that day, allegedly told the students that they could speak Spanish in Spanish class but not in her classroom.

Vianery says she was offended by the teacher’s instructions.

“It hurts, because I came to this country to accomplish my dreams, and to hear that — it’s not fair,” she said.

Cliffside Park High School has yet to release a statement but has said it is aware of the student’s cell phone footage.

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