2018-01-18 / Letters/Opinion

Parent Says Students Who Do Not Speak English Are Discriminated Against

Editor’s Note: This letter is exactly the way it was submitted to us and was not edited.

Dear Editor:

My name is Jean Baptiste – parent of two children at ITAVA – It Takes A Village Academy, 18K563. Two of nieces and cousins go there. Many relatives, Geanties, Jeans, Baptists, Ippolities, graduated from this school in the past. We all come from Haiti and always take our kids to ITAVA. It all changed. Now, we are discriminated, abused, insulted, upset and freighted.

On December 19, my sons and cousins came from school and told us that they wanna a different school. They said – “The new principal came in. She is a woman, Sybial Girard. She had meetings with students. At the meeting, she said, “I came from Saint Lucia. I have two sons 15 and 10. I know how to deal with you. I came from Caribbean country. I speak Patawah. I understand all of you. If you speak no English in my face, in the halls, in GYM, lunch, outside, I know you speak badly about me. I will call police. You are here to speak only English.”

We adults were surprised but did not take this serious. Next day, my 10 grader and 9 grade cousin came from school. They said. We spoke Creole in the hall with some boys. She stopped my son. My son said – She took my hand and told me – Speak English. Remember police.”

My son said: I feel no safe there. She discriminated, disrespected and bullied me. She know no names but she want me in jail. I want to go to a new school. Next day, December 20, he did not go to ITAVA. He was upset. He was very uncomfortable. I called the school December 20 and 21nd. I wanted to talk to Misses Girard. The secretary Misses Aesha told me not to bother the principal. She said – The principal is busy. Your kids are not truthful. They play games. Do not trust them. Speak with Ms. Muire, parent coordinator if you want and she asked Ms. Muire to talk. Ms. Muire was polite. She said. All children and parents have to speak English. It is United States. You came here last year so speak English. Misses Girard is a good principal and a friend of superintendent Prayor.

I was upset. I wanted answers. I asked my question – Why do students need to go to police if they do not speak English? Ms. Muire was upset, angry and said – I answered your questions. Come to school when we invite you. Do not ask strange questions on the phone. Maybe you taping me. If you are not happy, call police. Good bye.”

In the evening, my cousin who is a school teacher at Clara Barton School was upset and told me to call Mr. Mosses who help superintendent Prayore. Also, my cousin told me to go to Enrollment or Family Center and transfer my sons and other relatives. He told me that at his school all students can speak their languages. Teachers do not call police.

I called Mr. Mosses every day. He did not answer. I left voice letters. He never called me. Last week, I called Mr. Mosses again and he answered, and I explained and ask help. He started laughing. He said – Ms. Girard is a close friend of our superintendent. She is a good woman. She love her job. Mr. Prayor know her and she make ITAVA a good school” He said – She never said the words you told me.”

I was angry as Mr. Mosses thinks we, parent lie as we speak no good English. My relatives was in the school from the first day. The school help Haitian and other kids from Yemen, Dominican Republic, Africa, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Islands, 25 counties and did not call police because they learn English. As a parent I am concern. No one wanna help and listen. Mr. Mosses did not answer my question.

I wanted one more chance. I called the school on Friday. The secretary heard the question and screamed – Again! Stop! Do not call the school. Come when we invite you. I call police on you as I know who are you, your kids. Do not call. The principal. Misses Girard is busy.

In conclusion, students who do not speak English do not wanna to be at ITAVA. Family center at Ocean Avenue in Brooklyn is busy with new kids and ask to wait till June. And, nothing is done as Misses Girard is a friend of Mr. Prayor. Our students need friends too. I would like this taken care of. Help kids.

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