Richmond teacher on leave after telling student to 'shut up' for speaking Spanish

Posted at 11:30 PM, May 01, 2023

RICHMOND, Va - A Richmond Public Schools employee is on administrative leave and under investigation after a video posted online allegedly captured them telling a student speaking Spanish to “shut up” because they didn’t understand the language.

CBS 6 is not publishing the video but has reviewed it. The incident allegedly took place at Boushall Middle School last week.

The recording captured an exchange between the teacher and one student primarily, with another also speaking up in support of their classmate.

In the video of the exchange, the employee told the student to “go wherever that is — that Spanish-speaking country is — and speak it,” according to a transcript provided by the League of United Latin American Citizens.

The employee told the student that taxpayers in America “get the benefit of English-speaking language and so do you, so appreciate that,” according to the transcript.

The employee told the student “you’re not going to run my class like that” after telling the student they didn’t understand, according to the provided transcript.

Several community members, parents, teachers, and members of the League of United Latin American Citizens spoke out against the alleged behavior at the Richmond School Board meeting Monday night.

“So with this, what I want is for the Hispanics, don't be afraid to speak out because us as parents we have to be willing to defend our children,” said one woman who identified herself as the mother of the student in the video.

Richmond Schools Chief Wellness Officer Renesha Parks said the employee remained on administrative leave while their Employee Relations team conducts an internal review of the incident.

“Racism, bigotry, and intolerance of any kind will not be tolerated at Richmond Public Schools,” the statement said. “While we cannot comment further on personnel matters, please know that RPS happily serves a diverse group of students across many races and nationalities. We will continue to support and advocate for them all.”

Nearly 20% of RPS students are learning English as a second language and 25% are Hispanic, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

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