Students stage walkout over teacher's 'speak American' remark


Many Cliffside Park High School students come from Spanish-speaking homes and were offended by the video.

Dozens of students walked out of classes at Cliffside Park High School on Monday morning after a video showing a teacher berating a student about speaking English surfaced. "They're fighting for your right to speak American".

I'm not sure what concerns me more. "They are not fighting for your right to speak Spanish", the teacher can be heard saying, "They are fighting for your right to speak American".

That's when the students walk out the classroom as the female teacher points to the door repeatedly saying "bye".

"This school is not a negative school", said Carmen Benitez, a senior at Cliffside Park H.S.

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"I'm just hoping for an apology because [the teacher] could have been nicer and just ask, 'Can you please speak English, I don't understand you, '" said sophomore Anyeles Lebron.

Students walked out of class after an English teacher told them that men and women "are fighting for your right to speak American" after she caught them whispering in Spanish. "You know there are a lot of different cultures in our school".

One student replies, "You're being racist".

"It's really disrespectful", said Alana Lopez, a freshman, told PIX 11.

WPIX 11 notes that several alumni have been calling for the Board of Education to investigate the teacher's behavior. "It won't be the last time, it won't be the first time, but addressing the situation hopefully will change something", said high school junior Jasmeen Velasco.

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However, some defend the teacher whom they describe as a "great person".

Others suggested that English be the spoken language in the classroom, out of respect for the teacher presiding over the class.

"This is a teacher in Cliffside Park High School; she isn't allowing the student to express his constitutional right", Maria Reyes, a 2014 graduate of the school, wrote on Facebook.

"You go to school to learn, you don't go to feel attacked by someone you believe is an educator", Marvin Moreno, an alumni whose younger sister still attends the school, told the news station.

Immediately, disgruntled students in the classroom reacted to the problematic comment.

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