Saturday, February 02, 2008

English-Only School Bus Rule Violates Students’ Rights

The following is from an email newsletter. The link will take you to the site where you can download the ACLU's response to the Nevada School District. -Patricia

In Nevada, the Esmeralda County School District is blatantly discriminating against Latino students and violating their first amendment rights by forbidding students from speaking Spanish on school buses. The ACLU sent a letter to the superintendent requesting that the school district rescind the ban on Spanish immediately.

"During the bus ride to and from school there is no scheduled scholastic instruction,” said Lee Rowland, staff attorney with the ACLU of Nevada. “Yet while English-speaking students can carry on personal conversations that don’t further any educational goals, Spanish-speaking students must sit in silence."

By singling out and prohibiting the use of Spanish, the ACLU’s letter points out, the school district sends the message that Spanish-speakers, the majority of whom are Latino, are inferior. Because the language people choose to speak closely reflects their culture and where they are from, restricting the use of languages violates federal prohibitions against discrimination based on national origin.

The ACLU has requested to meet with the superintendent soon to resolve the matter of the school district’s policy that prohibits Spanish on the bus.


  1. What a shame that FEAR dictates the use of language in our public schools. I am proud that I speak a second language...and it wasn't from the encouragement of Arizona schools.

  2. J.F., Thank you for your comment. I share your same experience having grown up in California, and view the actions behind English-only policies as remnants of colonization. Please help us to stay informed on what's happing in Arizona. Thank you for your time. -Patricia