New Jersey

Teacher Who Told Student to ‘Speak American' Returns to Work

Students said the teacher had repeatedly told two students to stop whispering to one another in Spanish

What to Know

  • A teacher at NJ's Cliffside Park High School was caught on camera telling Spanish-speaking students to "speak American"
  • The video, which has been viewed more than 9,000 times, shows students getting up from their desks and leaving the classroom in disgust
  • The teacher has since returned to work and apologized for her comment, officials said

A teacher who sparked protests at a New Jersey high school when she told a Spanish-speaking student that he should instead "speak American" has returned to the classroom after making a school-wide apology.

Cliffside Park School District officials say English teacher Laura Amico returned to work Tuesday after delivering an apology to staff and students over the school's public address system.

Dozens of students at the high school in the heavily Hispanic district walked out of school earlier this month after a video clip surfaced in which Amico admonished a student for not speaking English.

"Men and women are fighting. They are not fighting for your right to speak Spanish," the teacher said in the video. "They are fighting for your right to speak American."

The incident sparked a walkout by students last week. Some said they were punished for particpiating in the protest, getting anything from detention to multiday suspensions. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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