August 12, 2008, - 10:02 am

More Assaults on English: Even a Private School Can’t Set Language?

By Debbie Schlussel
It’s bad enough that America’s public schools and institutions provide bilingual education. But those are public, and the ACLU constantly trots out the First Amendment to cover non-English speech. I thought, at the very least, that private schools and institutions could choose to do what they wanted.
But apparently, I was wrong . . . at least if three Hispanic students suing the Catholic Diocese of Wichita have their way. The trial, over the Diocesan policy of requiring that students at its Catholic schools speak only English, is set to begin today.

“What happened at that school constitutes race discrimination under federal anti-discrimination laws — that is why it is important. That needs to be stopped,” said Christopher McHugh, the attorney representing three 12-year-old students named as plaintiffs in the civil litigation.


The lawsuit seeks an end to the policy and asks for an order barring similar policies at other Catholic schools in the Wichita diocese.
The plaintiffs are claiming the policy violates the Civil Rights Act and another federal statute by intentionally discriminating against the sixth-grade students and causing a hostile educational environment.
The diocese contended in court filings that the English-only rule is not discriminatory and did not cause a hostile environment. It contends the rule was implemented at St. Anne Catholic School as a legitimate response to inappropriate behavior by a few middle school students.
“This case is about a matter of discipline,” Jay Fowler, the attorney representing the Catholic Diocese said Monday. “Catholic schools embrace all cultures.”
The lawsuit also seeks the return of one student to the school who was allegedly kicked out for refusing to sign the “English only” pledge. And it asks for court and attorney costs and unspecified damages for discrimination and emotional suffering. . . .
“This is not a case that implicates constitutional or statutory rights, as no court has recognized a right to speak a foreign language at school,” the defendants said in court documents.
The lawsuit was filed by parents Mike and Clara Silva, Maria and Fermin Fernandez, and Guadalupe Cruz-Tello on behalf of their minor children. It names as defendants St. Anne Catholic School, principal Margaret Nugent, St. Anne Catholic Parish and the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.
Seven children — all but one under the age of 12 — will testify at the trial before U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten, McHugh said. All, except for one student who was subpoenaed, are voluntarily testifying.

It’s a slippery slope. Since I went to a couple of Jewish Hebrew Day Schools (and also public high school), I can only imagine Hispanics or other non-English speaking illegal aliens insisting that our prayers and Hebrew classes be in Spanish. The same claim being raised by the Plaintiffs in this case could be raised by someone who wishes to join my synagogue. I can only imagine them insisting that we not be allowed to pray in Hebrew or that the English translations in prayer books be changed to Arabic.
That’s the problem with dictating language or anything else to a private institution–whether it’s a Catholic school or a Jewish synagogue or a WASPY country club–what it can do on its own private property within the confines of its own private organization.
No-one is discriminating against Hispanic students at the Diocese’s Catholic schools. The requirement is only that they agree to speak English. If they do not like it, they are free to attend the Publick Skools.
This frivolous lawsuit must be rejected. That it even sees the light of day–instead of being dismissed under a summary judgment–is troubling. The judge, J. Thomas Marten, was nominated by Bill Clinton, so it will be interesting to see how he rules.
A private institution is private for a reason: to make its own rules without outside interference from interlopers.
This is a case where me casa is only su casa if you abide by the rules.

15 Responses

It seems this whole Spanish as a Second laguage thing is an effort (planned or unplanned) to divide the American people and America. In the past immigrants who came to America were happy and proud to call themselves American and took great pride in learning English and becoming American. Not today. Most still hold allegiance to their former countries and have no pride or allegiance to America. The idea of having two official languages is a faulty one which only serves to alienate and divide populations and weaken a country.

PrincessKaren on August 12, 2008 at 11:13 am

Don’t be surprised if the diocese caves. The CC is in the forefront of the “open borders” movement. It sees itself as superior to civil governments. It will do what is best for itself in the long run. The local school may see the folly and danger in “bi-lingual” education, but the greater church embraces it.
Several popes have officially and formally attacked core American values. The CC sees itself as out-living the USA (a relative newcomer in historical terms) and has never (and can never) disavow her codified doctrines on civil government.
Catholicism is the opposite of Islam in this respect: there is little to fear from the average Catholic, but the secret oligarchy have international designs and they will use their leverage over the average Catholic to meet their goals.
This is an organization that gave the PLO an office at the Vatican in the early 70s, but who would not recognize Israel until the early 90s.

bleechers on August 12, 2008 at 12:00 pm

The news story said;
ìThe plaintiffs are claiming the policy violates the Civil Rights Act and another federal statute by intentionally discriminating against the sixth-grade students and causing a hostile educational environment.î
In the early sixties, I attended a Catholic elementary school, though I am not Catholic, and the neighborhood was, and still is, predominately Hispanic. At that time, the school accepted a large number of Cuban refugees, most of whom didnít speak English. The nuns, who were all white, worked extremely hard to help the Cuban children assimilate. And they did so with out compromising their school lesson plans. Our classes were still taught in English, and the Cuban children picked up the language quickly and with no problems. So it can be done.

Rocky on August 12, 2008 at 12:45 pm

My mother learned to speak English the old-fashioned way…the nuns beat it into her.

49smudge on August 12, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Please keep us posted on this case as it progresses, if possible. Thanks.

dm60462 on August 12, 2008 at 1:40 pm

“What happened at that school constitutes race discrimination under federal anti-discrimination laws — that is why it is important. That needs to be stopped,”
The problem with that statement is that Hispanic is not a race it is a culture. Hispanics fall under the “white” category thats why on the employment forms it says “white” and “other white hispanic.” The judge should throw this out and fine the lawyer.

Azygos on August 12, 2008 at 1:51 pm

“There may be legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but notÖ with regard to abortion and euthanasia. î
ó Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
So there can be a lot of areas of debate amongst faithful Catholics on many issues before us today.
Cardinal Ratzinger BEFORE he became the present Pope.
Bleechers stated, ìThis is an organization that gave the PLO an office at the Vatican in the early 70s, but who would not recognize Israel until the early 90s.î
There were obvious reasons for that.
But Israel met the Vaticanís requests by the 90s and subsequently, Israel was officially recognized by the Vatican. I donít remember the details.
Israel had the consent of the America, so why should they need anyone else, especially the Vatican? Yet, Israel repeatedly sought out the official approval of Rome? Why?
The Catholic Church has been in the Middle East for 2,000 years, and her interests, concerns and legitimate claims needed to be recognized, as well as those of the remaining Palestinians, at least the few, still there of good will. Fairness demanded it.
And so did the Church.
The Catholic Church is the only legitimate entity, whose pronouncements begin in this world, and are taken into the next. An authority bequeathed to His Church, by Christ Jesus, Himself.
An authority not given to any local, Evangelical churchÖhere today, but gone tomorrow, transient style of church.
So, of course, the Catholic Church is superior to all civil governments.
The Church is the creation of Jesus Christ. It was His lifeís work.
America is the creation of its founding fathers. Well intentioned ìguysî, but only men.
One entity created by God, the other by man. There can be no comparison.
Man, you canít even grasp the basics.
Bleech also said, ìthe secret oligarchy have international designs and they will use their leverage over the average Catholic to meet their goals.î
Ha! Thatís a laugh!! The Church can barely get the laity to act like descent ChristiansÖwithout unfolding and attempting plans of world domination.
Ha, Ha, ha, ha, haÖyouíre too much.

The Canadien on August 12, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Dear Canadien,
When the Church in the U.S. must import thousands of mass produced priests from Nigerian Seminaries – it is a moribund church. A Catholic community that has no ‘callings’ is stone cold DEAD.

poetcomic1 on August 12, 2008 at 3:52 pm

SoÖpoetcomic1, what are you doing with your life?

The Canadien on August 12, 2008 at 4:16 pm

But…I thought you all loved a “multi-cultural” society??

John Harper on August 13, 2008 at 3:28 am

When you don’t have an argument, mock.
Your defense of the CC in regard to Israel is hard to follow. Somehow Israel didn’t meet Vatican expectations and requirements to be recognized until the 90s, but the PLO was deemed legitimate and worthy of an office in the Vatican in the 70s?
When I write that the CC sees itself as superior to the civil government, that is not merely theological or theoretical speak. Your infallible popes have decreed that the state should thus “wield the sword at the behest of the priest” and that the government should make Catholicism “the religion of the state to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.” (Among many other things). It sees itself as superior to our Constitution (and always has).
Do you not know that the CC commands you to “bow will and intellect, NOT ONLY to pope, but to bishop as well? EVEN when the pope does not speak ex cathedra? Have you read what the bishops are saying about our borders? Have you “bowed will and intellect”?
As for influence over Catholics, withholding a “means of salvation” and even threatening excommunication for US politicians, judges and voters (in some cases said to make the guilty “bound to Satan”) for not voting or ruling as Rome directs, is akin to trying to dominate US affairs.
The pope no longer has an army (thank you, Garibaldi!) and has had to rely on either other armies (Mussolini) or pure deception to get his agenda advanced.

bleechers on August 13, 2008 at 12:46 pm

There were specific expectations of Israel required by Rome. When those were met, the Vatican recognized Israel. I believe some of those had to with existing churches, Catholic and otherwise, and holy sites.
The Church is not perfect. At the time of Jesus, Jesus Himself was exasperated with the disciples at times, and sided with the complainants who brought their concerns to Him, on more than one occasion.
US politicians, who claim to be Catholic, are to be Catholic. The faithful are supporting them for that very reason! In moral matters of life and death they are not exempt from their ìCatholicismî. I hope the wafflers are excommunicated, officially, publically. Their consent has already incurred that judgment from God, privately, however. In that state, they can’t be saved.
And this outright murdering of the unborn has got to stop.
In my books, any nation that supports abortion, or euthanasia, is Communist or Atheist!
No exceptions.
And I am barely able to contain my contempt.
Each unrepentant participant in abortion should fear God. In the afterlife, God wonít be looking the other way on this issue, and so many others as well. The horror of Hell is reserved for those who reject God, who hate His righteousness, and His Eternal Kingdom.
And that horror, unspeakable suffering, lasts an eternity. Sin and the unredeemed soul is that much an affront to God.
But donít worry Bleechers, the exacting requirement of perfection you expect of the entire Catholic Church, the Kingdom of God, His imperfect, often faltering pilgrimsÖ will also be expected of you!
You should heed the words of Jesus found in Luke 6.
But you hate that creation of JesusÖthe Catholic Church, that Church that Jesus established 2,000 years ago and continues to move forward.
And that hatred causes you to see ìCC commandsî in ridiculous black and white.
American individualism does not justify a neurotic fear of legitimate religious authority.
ëCourse, Iím sure Bleechers is perfect. Just ask him!

The Canadien on August 13, 2008 at 9:10 pm

The CC is not perfect? That is your defense? Sorry, it claims to be perfect in doctrine. Apparently you have not read the Popes or the Councils. Leo XIII stated that the decrees of Popes and Councils may NEVER be “reinterpreted” or said to be different because of “greater understanding.”
You can’t have it both ways. The claims of inerrant “Sacred Tradition” cannot be used one day to declare the CC “the only true church” and “the only vehicle of salvation” and its popes and councils “infallible” only to say “we’re not perfect” the next?
The doctrines I quoted regarding civil governments and the CC cannot be dismissed as “imperfection” or the entire claim of infallibility and “continuity of faith” falls apart. In any case, your church COMMANDS you to “bow will and intellect” to pope and bishop regardless of whether he speaks ex cathedra.
Hey, if you want to denounce the Popes and Councils and claim they decreed gross error, I’m right there with you! I’m not the one claiming infallibility. You can attack me all you’d like, that doesn’t change the “unchanging” decrees of Popes and Councils.
“American individualism” is denounced by Pope Gregory in Marari Vos. The Establishment clause is denounced by Pius IX in his “Syllabus of Errors.” In fact, he infallibly decreed that if you deny the doctrine of the CC being “the religion of the state to the exclusion of all other forms of worship” you are in sin! I didn’t say that, your infallible Pope decreed it.
And as for Israel, just in today’s headlines:
Pro-Israel Views Gets NGO in Iraq Defunded by Catholic Charity: In effect, the aid organization is too pro-Israel for Caritas.

bleechers on August 14, 2008 at 7:50 am

The popes would never accept the “we’re not perfect” argument when it comes to infallibly decreed doctrines such as those I quoted.
“For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretense or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them.” -Constitution de Fide Catholica, Chapter iv. (Vatican I, Quoted by Pope Leo XIII in Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae -1899)
“If anyone holds to one single one of these (heresies) he is not a Catholic.” — Pope Leo XIII (from Encyclical Satis Cognitum : 28)
As for just “abortion” and “infanticide,” Benedict decreed just last year that Catholic politicians, judges, etc. must protect life “to NATURAL DEATH.” This can easily be extended to both capital punishment and wars deemed “unjust” by Rome. Threatening elected officials with eternal damnation (a possibility under ex-communication) unless they obey Rome and NOT the Constitution should shake Americans to the core.
This is exactly the sort of “tyranny” John Adams warned us of in his treatise on Canon Law.

bleechers on August 14, 2008 at 12:52 pm

I was talking about imperfect in practice. NOT doctrine.
We all know the Catholic Church cannot err in doctrine.
DISCIPLINES can be imposed by the Church, upon the faithful, that can be opposite one another at different points in history. To suit the ìspiritî of the times.
I believe during the time of Reformation there was a ìlockdownî on reading the Bible. On oneís own. Poor literacy, and errant reformer prooftexting challenges were leading people out of the Church. People, were swayed by various, and often conflicting interpretations, by the many competing reformers (Calvanist vs. Anabaptist and others). Usually, by whoever happened to be in town at the time on thhe ìcircuitî.
The easiest thing for the Church to do, to stop all that?
Lock down the Bible. Course, lots of folk ignored that, and ended up outside the Church.
There is no lockdown on accredited Bibles today. Most Catholics can readily see how crude, and silly, some of the Calvanist, Anabaptist or Evangelical positions, and biblical interpretations were. These days.
Catholics can review Reformer history as well, hundredís of years of it, and well it ainít pretty. Debauchery, murder and scrupulosity come to mind.
Personally, I went from gas airplanes to God. And I was initially bamboozled by local Baptists. However, I quickly recovered. As I read the Bible ìon my ownî as the ìBapsî encouraged me to doÖI discovered Baptist positions that didnít jive with my new found wisdom. I took my questions and concerns to the pastor and he couldnít answer them! My friend, who watched the whole encounter observed how the pastor became increasing angry with my line of questioning.
My friend also noted how the pastorís reactions didnít seem very ìChristianî. That cinched it for me. We never went back.
I probably should have gone back, at least for the gorgeous Baptist bombshell that had taken more than a liking to me. But I didnít. It was all or nothing, in those days.
The Catholic Church sees itself quite clearly. The Church was created to replace the Synagogue. The ìOldî had passed away. Jesus inaugurated the ìNewî with the New and Final Covenant. Temple sacrifices passed away, and only the sacrifice of Jesus is left. And needed.
The Son of God paid the satisfactory price on the Cross, in Jerusalem, where it all began, and that is the only expiating offering acceptable to God the Father. For all time.
Jerusalem, and sacrifices at the Temple, were replaced by the Sacrifice of the Mass held in localized locations throughout the world, and through the ages. This is prophesized about in the Old Testament, and fulfilled in the New.
The Catholic Church is the guardian of all that. The liturgical infrastructure, and the dispensing.
It sounds to me like American nationalism is your religion.
Truth, justice and the American way!
All noble and good, with papal decreed exceptions noted, but unfortunately, some of us need a little bit more.
Nationalism could not replace or compete with MY relationship with God.
If you think God is happy with America, you need to take a closer look at your country, and what God has revealed about who He is.
He ainít happy with Canada, thatís for sure!
If you knew Salvation History, which you donít, but if you did, you would know that God from the beginning of time, has choosen specific persons to lead His people, through the perilous “times”.
He sets them up, and He then sets them apart.
The final ìset-upî from God is the Catholic Church with the ongoing “Peter” who remains the “keeper of the keys”.
Hope you know itÖhope you find it.

The Canadien on August 14, 2008 at 9:26 pm

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