A person who can speak two languages is called bilingual.
A person who can barely handle one is called an American.

With repeated surveys finding American students perpetually trailing in comparisons with their counterparts in other developed countries, perhaps the attitude shown by "educators" in the following story gives a clue as to how we got here.

Zach Rubio, a 16-year-old student at a small high school in the Turner Unified School District near Kansas City, was suspended from school for saying, "No problema." Zach uttered the forbidden words in a hallway in answer to another student who asked him, in Spanish, for the loan of a dollar. A teacher overheard him, and Zach was suspended for speaking Spanish on school grounds.

A few years ago there was a story in the news about a Tulsa area high school vice principal suspending a student because she made him sick by putting a curse on him. I wondered at the time why he had not been fired for being an idiot, and why the person who failed to fire him for being an idiot was not fired for being an idiot. The same questions come to mind in the case of Principal Jennifer Watts, who suspended Zach Rubio, and whoever is responsible for her.


December 15, 2005