Principal Testifies In "English Only" Trial

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Three families are suing Saint Anne School and the Catholic Diocese of Wichita claiming discrimination.

The principal, Sister Margaret Nugent, took the witness stand Thursday, explaining the reasons for the school's "English only" policy. Her testimony lasted four hours.

Sister Margaret testified that the policy was implemented to prevent bullying, and to allow the kids to blend. Sister Margaret said she never felt the students were separated by language.

Saint Anne implemented the rule last fall after teachers started getting complaints from students, who said they thought the Spanish-speaking kids were calling them names in Spanish.

Three families, including Mike and Clara Silva, are suing the school, Sister Margaret Nugent and the Catholic Diocese for discrimination.

The families say their kids were singled out and made to sit apart from one another because of their heritage.

Sister Margaret says that isn't true. During her testimony, she said the kids were all told to mingle, with kids of all races, to create unity.

"It wasn't just the Hispanics, it was the whole sixth grade," Sister Margaret said.

Sister Margaret also told the court that because the teachers couldn't understand what the kids were saying when they spoke Spanish, it became divisive.

She testified that the school teaches in English, so she expects the kids to speak English at all times.

She also said that when she put the policy in place, she had no idea it would become such an explosive issue.

The plaintiffs rested their case today. The defense will open with its witnesses Friday.


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