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Texas Principal Rescinds Ban on Spanish Speaking

October 23, 1991

GARLAND, Texas (AP) _ A principal on Wednesday lifted a ban he imposed on speaking Spanish in hallways and classrooms after residents and Hispanic groups decried the policy.

O’Banion Middle School Principal Joe Brown had enacted the ban to end students’ cursing in Spanish.

Garland Independent School District Superintendent Jill Shugart said the most negative response came from outside the school. She said she talked with Brown to consider other options.

″We had a meeting of the minds ... and I support the principal’s determination to maintain an educational environment,″ Ms. Shugart said, adding that students shouldn’t be verbally abusing teachers, regardless of the language involved.

″But I also think it’s important to keep the scope of the problem in perspective. If there is a better way to handle it, then we need to pursue that route.″

Steve Knagg, the district’s director of communications, said Brown intends to appoint a task force of students, parents and administrators to study the problem of students cursing in Spanish.

Twenty percent of the 981 students at the school in the Dallas suburb are Hispanic, but only two faculty members speak Spanish, officials said. Both teach Spanish courses.

Under the ban imposed Friday, students caught speaking Spanish risked detention or possible expulsion. The ruling excluded Spanish and English as a second language classes.

″By prohibiting students from speaking Spanish, they’re penalizing everyone, whether they’re guilty or not,″ said Adelfa Callejo, a Dallas lawyer and chairwoman of the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations.

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