School apologizes to student suspended for speaking Spanish
Associated Press
Dec. 9, 2005

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A school superintendent apologized to a student who was suspended last week for speaking Spanish at school.

Zach Rubio, a 16-year-old high school junior, was sent home from the Endeavor Alternative School on Nov. 28 for talking in Spanish at lunch and later in the day. Principal Jennifer Watts sent him home and suspended him through the following day.

District officials said Watts told the boy's father the suspension was a direct result of his speaking Spanish. Superintendent of Schools Bobby Allen reversed the suspension within hours of learning about it from the father, the district said.

"As soon as he found out, he contacted the parent and said that should not have happened," said Bart Swartz, the district's executive director of certified personnel.

Swartz said students are not forbidden to speak Spanish at any school in the district, and he knew of no other similar suspensions.

The boy's father, who is originally from Mexico, is a U.S. citizen who has lived in the United States for 25 years. The son speaks perfect, unaccented English and is also fluent in Spanish.

Swartz could not comment on any disciplinary action against Watts as a result of the suspension. Watts continues to work for the district.