Students at a high school in New Jersey walked out of their classes en masse on Monday–days after a teacher demanded that Latinx students “speak American.”
A Snapchat video caught the teacher’s outburst which occurred at Cliffside Park High School last Thursday, October 12.
In the video, students can be heard speaking in Spanish about the New York Yankees as the teacher snaps. She first demands they stop speaking Spanish. The students do not oblige. Increasingly triggered, the teacher then says:
Military men and women who are fighting are not fighting for your right to speak Spanish, they are fighting for your right to speak American.
At that point, the audio–and classroom–gets a bit chaotic. Some students boo. Others laugh.
Vianery Cabrera, 16, was one of the students who laughed. In an interview with NBC News, she said:
I laughed, because, first of all, that’s not a language. 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.
As the video continues, some students attempt to argue with the teacher. One student even walks out on the spot, loudly saying, “Goodbye, goodbye.”
That initial exit was just a precursor for yesterday’s large scale walkout. In all, about 100 students walked out in protest–even after being warned by the school’s principal that they would face retaliation for protesting.
The principal’s attempt to punish the protesting students was somewhat frustrated, however, as a fire alarm was pulled during the walkout. After that happened, all of the school’s roughly 1,100 students were able to join the protest.
According to NBC New York, the teacher in the video was asked to stay home today.
[image via screengrab]