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ProEnglish Op-Ed in The Washington Times on the Terri Bennett Lawsuit in Arizona

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VANDERVOORT:

Arizona student fights for English only at college as law requires

Student fights back after school punishes her for insisting law be obeyed


 

 

It has been almost a year since Terri Bennett, a nursing student at Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz., asked school administrators to ensure that students speak English in her class so she could properly ask questions and learn the subject matter.

Yet after making that reasonable request, she says the director of the nursing program called her a “bigot” and other vicious names. Then she was later slapped by the college with a nine-month suspension.

It is incredible to think that this can happen in the United States, where the motto “E Pluribus Unum — “Out of many, one” — has been the traditional assimilation model for everyone who seeks to be an American united by our common English tongue.

It is happening more and more, with the Bennett case being one of the most egregious examples to date.

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Ms. Bennett was assigned to student and laboratory projects, and was often the only English speaker in her group. She felt excluded and found the learning environment outright hostile to English speakers.

Why would the taxpayer-supported institution tolerate such an atmosphere? Why did it react with such hostility toward her? Administrators even humiliated the nursing student in front of classmates by serving her with suspension papers and having police escort her off of the campus.

After listening to Ms. Bennett’s ordeal and the facts of the case, ProEnglish contacted the prominent Arizona law firm of Munger Chadwick PLC to represent her in court.

The ball started rolling last July 13 when the college was served with a complaint seeking administrative review. Two days later, a complaint seeking monetary damages against the school was filed on behalf of Ms. Bennett in Superior Court in Tucson.

In late August, Pima Community College filed a response, denying any wrongdoing and even claiming that the student was at fault. So unless the school changes its position, the Bennett case is ready for trial.

The Arizona Constitution — the state’s most fundamental set of laws — is as clear as day: “Representatives of government in this state shall preserve, protect and enhance the role of English as the official language of the government of Arizona.”

Not only did the state-run and publicly funded Pima Community College fail to protect the use of English in the classrooms, it blatantly violated the very next provision of Arizona’s Constitution: “A person shall not be discriminated against or penalized in any way because the person uses or attempts to use English in public or private communication.”

Ms. Bennett sought nothing more than a classroom environment where all students regardless of their backgrounds could communicate freely with each other and without barriers in their quest for learning.

Read the rest of the article here.
 
 
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"Official English" Trend: Latest Law Is In Polk County, WI

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For media interviews please contact: Phil Kent (404) 226-3549 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

January 30, 2014

ARLINGTON, VA— ProEnglish, the nation’s leading advocate of designating English as the official language of government, today praised the Polk County, WI, Board of Supervisors for voting 13-9 to declare English as the county’s official language. It specifically requires all audio, video, printed materials, signage or other materials used in any official capacity to be in English.

“We praise the resolution’s sponsor, Rick Scoglio, and a majority of his fellow supervisors who made Polk the first Wisconsin county to adopt this needed legislation,” said ProEnglish Executive Director Robert Vandervoort. “ProEnglish especially agrees with Supervisor Greg Bergstrom, who emphasizes that this ordinance is an efficient way to keep costs down by not having to print material in so many different languages.”

“Instead of encouraging immigrants and their children to learn English, all too many governments— at the local, state and federal levels— are making it their policy to communicate with numerous non-English speakers in their native languages,” Vandervoort says. “These kinds of policies are an unacceptable reversal of the traditional American assimilation model.”

“Passing this ordinance will help promote immigrants’ successful integration into American life, save taxpayer dollars and set a good precedent for other Wisconsin counties and the Wisconsin legislature to follow,” Vandervoort says. “In recent years 31 states have passed official-English-in-government laws and Congress is considering such legislation at the federal level, with bills being introduced this year both in the House and Senate. Wisconsin is only one of 19 states that does not have a statewide official English law.”
 
“While Congress is misguidedly attempting to push through an immigration bill without enforceable English assimilation provisions, the American people are passing ordinances in their own towns and counties to promote English language learning and integration,” he said.

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