Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ProEnglish praises Wichita English Court Ruling

Well this is a surprise..

ARLINGTON, Va.—“St. Anne’s Catholic School is fully within its rights as an educational institution to curb bullying, profanity and exclusionary behavior among its students by requiring that English be spoken, and we are pleased that U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten agrees,” says K.C. McAlpin, executive director of ProEnglish, a national English advocacy organization. The group gave assistance to the Wichita, Kansas, school’s legal team and hired a local attorney to represent two St. Anne’s students that were caught up in the lawsuit over the “speak English” rule.

“Spanish is taught in the school’s curriculum and St. Anne’s Catholic Church is one of the few churches in the Wichita diocese that offers a Spanish mass every Sunday,” McAlpin notes. “Plaintiff and student Adam Silva, whose parents alleged the speak-English rule was discriminatory, had no basis for such a claim. The language someone chooses to speak and their national origin are not the same thing, and courts have never ruled otherwise,” McAlpin added.

“It was young Adam’s parents who protested the rule—a policy implemented for non-discriminatory reasons. In fact, Adam is bilingual, with English as his first language. So he could easily have complied with the rule. This court case was a battle between a school’s right to have rules to protect students and maintain the discipline required for learning, and a set of aggrieved parents whose child refused to comply with the rules,” McAlpin said. “The judge found discrimination had nothing to do with it.”

“It is regrettable that members of the legal profession who see the law merely as a tool for conflict or to use to advance their personal political agendas, are using linguistic diversity as a weapon,” McAlpin continued. “This case should never have been in court.”

ProEnglish’s main involvement in the Silva v. St. Anne’s Catholic School case was to engage Wichita attorney Mark Shoenhofer to represent St. Anne’s students who were deposed or required to sign an affidavit responding to questions from the plaintiff’s attorney.

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