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Mar 22, 2016 4:53 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Springs School Parents Speak Out Against Language Barrier In District

Mar 22, 2016 4:53 PM

A parent spoke at last Monday’s Springs School District Board of Education meeting about the district’s allegedly troubled relationship with its Latino community, which makes up more than 50 percent of the student population.

While another parent, Liz Tatiana Tucci—who is currently in the process of suing the school district for discrimination—translated, Carmen Bustamante told the board and Superintendent John Finello how difficult it has been to stay informed about what is happening in the district due to a lack of translated notices and meetings.

“The Latino community does not feel welcome in the district,” Ms. Bustamante said in Spanish, verging on tears. “We feel like we are strangers to the district and we would like to be included. We would like our notices to be translated.”

Ms. Tucci, who stood beside Ms. Bustamante, pulled out a notice she had received about her daughter’s swimming class. Flipping it over for the board, she showed that there was no translation.

“East Hampton provides translation at board meetings and every notice that goes out to the parents is translated,” said Ms. Tucci, referring to East Hampton School District’s recent addition of a translating system at its board meetings.

In January, East Hampton implemented a system in which a translator speaks into a microphone system connected to wireless headphones to be worn by those in need of Spanish translation.

Ms. Tucci also commented on the confusion and lack of assistance she said Latino parents have faced when going to the district’s office for help.

“Sometimes when they come into the front [of the building] they are not given the opportunity to speak and what they are told is if they don’t understand you have to find somebody,” she told the board, once again translating in part what Ms. Bustamante said.

“According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 … they must not rely on the students for interpretation,” said Ms. Tucci.

In a statement sent to The Press, Springs School Board President Elizabeth Mendelman said: “The board recognizes that language can be challenging for some of our Hispanic families in navigating the educational system. We continue to bring more resources and tools to help our teachers and staff engage our non-English speaking parents. With smartphone technology and other advances in digital technology we have more opportunities to engage all of our parents. There are many reasons parents can’t attend board meetings and we would like to find ways to remove those barriers.”

Meanwhile, the board released a statement through the public relations firm Syntax stating: “The Springs Union Free School District does not have a practice of discrimination of any kind. We embrace our diverse school community and strive to maintain an environment that promotes tolerance, understanding, respect and equality.”

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Ask not what another country can do for you but what you can do for another country-JFK 2016
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Mar 23, 16 8:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
“The Latino community does not feel welcome in the district,” Ms. Bustamante said in Spanish, verging on tears.

in the words of Justin Timberlake, "Cry me a river!"
By ArturoBandini (30), on Mar 23, 16 8:51 AM
How 'bout this - LEARN ENGLISH, the official language of this country.
By SisBoomBonacker (106), Hamptons on Mar 23, 16 9:22 AM
Although I agree more people need to make an effort to learn the primary language of our nation and State, the United States does NOT have an official language.
By S'hamptonNative (84), Southampton on Mar 23, 16 9:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
Another reason why we should -- but that'll never happen!


By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Mar 23, 16 9:57 AM
It might. Vote Trump.
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Mar 23, 16 11:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
With that comment, you probably cost the Donald a bunch of votes.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 26, 16 4:16 PM
We have a flag, a language and a culture...either conform or go back to where you came from....no other country in the world goes out of their way to translate things for visitors...
By crboz812 (8), Quaker Hill on Mar 23, 16 9:35 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By jams (129), hampton bays on Mar 23, 16 9:42 AM
nuts
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Mar 23, 16 9:53 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bird (829), Sag Harbor on Mar 23, 16 10:29 AM
Did Syntax release the statement in Spanish?
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Mar 23, 16 11:25 AM
East Hampton School District is a model for this. Administrators and teachers spend less time dealing with confusion and misinformation. Better for all students. Saves district time and money. Just common sense.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Mar 23, 16 2:16 PM
Seems like a pretty reasonable request. Why is anyone opposed to providing information in multiple languages, I dont get it? You don't have to worry, it will still be in English as well, they are not asking to switch the entire school over to Spanish.

Cheap computers can do most of the translating even.

Are teachers bi-lingual yet or what?
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Mar 23, 16 2:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Translation = no incentive to learn English!
By HamptonDad (236), Hampton Bays on Mar 25, 16 9:17 PM
I hope these people complaining about this are citizens.. Otherwise this is absurd. Learn English... Go TRUMP
By bigblue84 (89), Hampton Bays on Mar 23, 16 4:41 PM
No entiendo este artículo. podría alguien por favor, traducir en Español??
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Mar 23, 16 4:52 PM
2 members liked this comment
Traductor Google funciona muy bien! Intentalo!
By jperrier (53), Springs on Mar 23, 16 9:32 PM
I just checked the Springs School website - you can pick a "select language" in the upper left and it will translate everything on the site into any language, including Spanish. And I know every notice I get sent by the school is in English on the front, and in Spanish on the back. And every phone message from Springs school give you the option to hear it in Spanish... Seems to me like Springs School is trying pretty hard!
By jperrier (53), Springs on Mar 23, 16 9:39 PM
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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Mar 24, 16 8:01 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Mar 24, 16 9:47 AM
I understand the need to have information given in multiple languages but how many of the Latino community have made any effort to learn to speak English?
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Mar 24, 16 11:38 AM
how much spanish have you learned ?
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Mar 24, 16 12:44 PM
Do you believe that America should be forced to become a bi-lingual nation to accommodate the vast number of Spanish speakers crossing our borders?
By ChrisDiPetta (37), on Mar 24, 16 12:51 PM
I think we like, already have decided that wo accommodate multiple languages as 'America' does not have one official language.

Why not do our best to communicate with everin the community. What's your problem with it?

No one is forcing anyone to become bi or tri or trans lingual here. You dont have to read the Spanish dude although you may benefit from learning some. Some things are hard, but that's ok.

By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Mar 24, 16 1:24 PM
I'm sorry, you must have misunderstood me.

I'm referring specifically to things like schools, government offices, and other taxpayer funded activities.

Should they all be required by law to accommodate Spanish speakers? That is, should all government documents be available in Spanish? Should government offices be required to have a Spanish translator available?
By ChrisDiPetta (37), on Mar 24, 16 5:06 PM
I don't know how to speak Spanish but I don't live in a country whose native language is Spanish. If I were to move to a country where I needed to learn another language I would learn it.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Mar 25, 16 10:29 AM
2 members liked this comment
Just what IS the native language? Shinnecock?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Mar 26, 16 4:18 PM
I think in terms of benefitting someone it would help them to learn to speak English more than it would benefit me to speak Spanish. Not learning English will only limit their success and the potential success of their children. Not speaking Spanish hasn't affected me at all.
By jams (129), hampton bays on Mar 24, 16 1:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
50% of the students are Latino, and their parents no speak English. Anybody know what percent of the complaining parents are illegal aliens and pay taxes?
By Non-Political (125), Hampton Bays on Mar 24, 16 2:56 PM
1 member liked this comment
As far as the taxes go, every person who lives in the town is paying real estate tax whether directly as property owners or indirectly through their rent payments.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Mar 25, 16 1:24 AM
While this is essentially true, you have 4-5 families many times living in one house. That where the scales are tipped unfairly.
By bubby (236), southampton on Mar 25, 16 7:28 AM
I agree with Bubby which is why I hope the laws that already exist in East Hampton with regard to the sizes of a bedroom and the number of occupants are enforced with the new rental registry. Of course those rules should have already been enforced.. but that's another story.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Mar 25, 16 10:31 AM
Every wave of immigrants to the US have faced the same issue, ie. not speaking language. In the past the immigrants learned English, pronto! They viewed speaking the language of their new country as the key to success, not so this time around. Perhaps, just perhaps not catering to our new immigrants would hasten their assimilation.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Mar 24, 16 5:54 PM
5 members liked this comment
Funny that immigrant parents from years ago didn't get notes home in their language. There were no complaints. Whys is it the job of the school to use multiple languages. Assimilate! there are no Vietnamese parents complaining for notes in Vietnamese. Springs School couldn't be more accommodating than it already is. This is truly nonsensical! What a joke, really?
By louse pt. (143), springs on Mar 24, 16 6:43 PM
2 members liked this comment
We bend over backwards and then some in order to accommodate the Latino, yet they still keep demanding more without trying to learn English here where they came for "a better life for their family". And prejudice and racism is called into play if we don't. I don't see any other nationality that we do this for. Isn't it prejudice that we don't offer everything in every language? Why just in Spanish? If we can't have everything available then we should only have English or I feel it's considered ...more
By justme (6), Southampton on Mar 25, 16 11:53 AM
Exactly
By bubby (236), southampton on Mar 25, 16 3:11 PM
Maybe Tucci is exaggerating the Spanish language "barrier" issue to help her try to win her "discrimination" lawsuit against Springs School ...
By jperrier (53), Springs on Mar 24, 16 8:48 PM
50% of the students are Spanish, so what's the big dea? And not having Spanish speakers available at all times in the offices (for walk-ins and phone callers) is absurd. It's the 21st century people.
By zaz (197), East Hampton on Mar 24, 16 9:12 PM
I invaded your home, and don't like your rules. Lol
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Mar 24, 16 10:17 PM
Most people have a smart phone these days.

Google Translate is free. So is Duolingo.

My advice, get off your dupa and use tools that are freely available. Then, "We" don't need to spend money on software, or pay personnel to translate anything.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Mar 25, 16 5:14 AM
1 member liked this comment
Biti dvojezično je dobra stvar.

Additionally, I omitted that Google Chrome with the translate plug-in can easily swap any webpage to the language of one's choice.

All you do is right click, click translate, and choose a language.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Mar 26, 16 7:28 AM
Agree wholeheartedly Mr Z! Take responsibility for yourself.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Mar 25, 16 7:01 AM
No one has really explained WHY they are against accommodating multiple languages.

We just hint that 'these people are illegal' ...It could be safe to assume that many of 'these' young people were born here and are citizens. Not adapting to this punishes random kids due to the fact that we hate immigrants for some reason. (they dont speak english and act like us)
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Mar 25, 16 7:12 AM
While i'm tossing assumptions around here I might as well add another:
If a child has a parent or parents who are bigots it's likely that this child will inherit the same warped views of their parents. This is quite the burden to place on a kid.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Mar 25, 16 7:27 AM
hate immigrants? How is this about hating immigrants? Don't spew hatred here. This is about a ridiculous comment made at a board meeting. Please explain to me how the Springs School and its staff could possibly be more accommodating than they already are, and why one particular group is entitled to a red carpet? FYI, this nation was founded by the ENGLISH. This is why my grandparents learned the language. This is why they didn't ask for letters/etc. in their native tongue. The founding fathers and ...more
By louse pt. (143), springs on Mar 25, 16 7:33 AM
It is the RESPONSIBILITY of recently arrived immigrants to learn the language and assimilate, for their sake and the sake of their children. The issue here is that our Spanish speaking neighbors are demanding something from the "system" that has not been provided in the past. That's the rub.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Mar 25, 16 12:05 PM
no it's not...there is no 'the language' here. it is us who should be demanding that all citizens are considered. time to adapt please.

By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Mar 26, 16 6:18 PM
HMMM , are you naïve enough to believe that the non English speakers here are CITIZENS?? In order to succeed here you must be fluent in English, always has been, always will be.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Mar 26, 16 8:01 PM
I'll give you a "WHY".

Because it's a slap in the face to all the people who come here, learn the language, and do things proper. My father is one of those people, along with many members of my family.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Mar 26, 16 8:41 PM
I never realized the absolute importance of having English as our official language until I was a student interning at Coney Island Hospital many years ago. My Spanish language fluency meant nothing when most of the patients spoke Russian, Chinese or Yiddish. There were telephone translating services available , but when patients come into an ER with chest pain, precious minutes are wasted this way. It is to everyone's benefit if immigrants to the U.S. learn to speak English. I am all for having ...more
By fishcove (39), southampton on Mar 25, 16 7:52 AM
3 members liked this comment
when I was in school there were several students that were, Russian, polish and Spanish. There were no special classrooms for them, instead they learned English on their own and fast. This is America and everyone who wants to live here should learn English, not the other way around! Let me just enlighten you on a fact: Children with learning disabilities are getting shoved out of classrooms that give them extra help to make way for classrooms that cater to children who do not speak English. The ...more
By minnie mouse (9), southampton on Mar 25, 16 1:32 PM
2 members liked this comment
What happened to helping children that were born in this country? Ma'am, you have the wrong country. And at the end of the day, juding from your posts, YOU aren't wholly literate in English.

Your post, meant to hide your spectacular levels of racism and fear was ineffective.
By BillyWest (13), southampton on Mar 25, 16 1:40 PM
Actually, she is correct. Schools are being forced to get rid of special area teachers for budgetary reasons while at the same time being mandated to hire more ENL teachers. Absolutely we should help the children born in this country. But you can't be so naive as to think that ALL of these kids were born here. That's what is upsetting. It's the situation where a special needs child, be they English, Spanish, Russian, whatever, is not getting services they need because the necessary monies to ...more
By bubby (236), southampton on Mar 25, 16 3:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
The more I read this article, the more I get blown away by the audacity of these people to claim that the Springs School doesn't cater to Hispanics. You can't even make this stuff up. So if I get this correct, the school has partnered with the YMCA and I believe the PTA in order to give all children the chance to learn to swim for FREE, and these two women have the audacity to complain about a lack of Spanish translation? What a delusional sense of entitlement. NO NOTES, NONE should be sent home ...more
By louse pt. (143), springs on Mar 25, 16 9:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
Translation = no incentive to learn English!
By HamptonDad (22), Hampton Bays on Mar 25, 16 9:17 PM
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Mar 26, 16 9:06 AM
In the short term it's helpful to non-English speaking immigrants to receive important communications in a language they can understand. Schools hospital, government notices, etc. Given the large percentage of Spanish speaking immigrants here Spanish translations make sense. The danger is in completely removing the incentive to learn English and thus creating a separate minority class of citizens that are isolated by their inability to communicate within the broader community. It is in the country's ...more
By Arnold Timer (327), Sag Harbor on Mar 27, 16 11:37 AM
1 member liked this comment
The article states that the Latino community in East Hampton student population makes up more than 50 percent ...which last time I checked means the MAJORITY... maybe, just maybe Spanish is technically the first language for the EHSD and yes, translation is a fair request.
By YXZ (32), Hampton Bays on Mar 27, 16 10:20 PM
The article states that the Latino community in East Hampton student population makes up more than 50 percent ...which last time I checked means the MAJORITY... maybe, just maybe Spanish is technically the first language for the EHSD and yes, translation is a fair request.
By YXZ (32), Hampton Bays on Mar 27, 16 10:20 PM
I am wondering if the having literature in Spanish would help alienate the Spanish-speaking population from the larger English-speaking population that exists in the greater community, and whether it would do long term harm to the district's families by further insulating them. I am just wondering....
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Mar 28, 16 9:50 AM
Wow the hatred and resentment on this page is shocking, EVEN in an era where people think that embracing Trump might hold the key to happiness. Get with the program, people--America will be JUST FINE as long as we remember that what made it great is a MIXTURE of cultures, languages, and philosophies, but an adherence to tolerance and respect based on individual freedom stemming from God-given human rights. Notificación en dos idiomas es una petición razonable , y no causar la destrucción ...more
By InnerBay (72), Southampton on Mar 28, 16 10:52 AM
This is not about hatred and resentment. That was begun by the two women who made these outlandish and entitled statements. Did you read the article? The taxpayers of Springs have passed every school budget for more than the past ten years. The district has added staff and programs to aid the new population at Springs School. Teacher's workloads have greatly increased due to the prevalence of immigrant students. This has all been done and is still going on with open arms, regardless of immigration ...more
By louse pt. (143), springs on Mar 28, 16 12:11 PM
2 members liked this comment
get over it dude
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Mar 30, 16 7:38 AM
Wow! I Just read these comments. Sad so many comments are just plain racial.I am not a liberal,but a Convetsation. And these comments are just plain wrong!
By bayview (160), Southampton on Mar 30, 16 1:22 PM
Nothing I have written is racist! You are NOT a racist because you have a differing opinion. Did you READ the article? The two women are acting with a delusional sense of entitlement, bashing a school board, administration, faculty, and community who have bent over backwards to treat immigrants and their children with warmth and care at Springs School. This was an unwarranted, and obnoxious display of reverse discrimination if anything else. Unfortunately this is the modern world of leftist fascism. ...more
By louse pt. (143), springs on Mar 30, 16 6:01 PM
2 members liked this comment
Wouldn't it be funny if the kids have been getting the notices in Spanish the whole time but tossing them out -- "Mom, I never got a Spanish notice that you were supposed to go to a Parent Teacher conference about my grades, I swear, Mom" or mis-translating the English notices -- "Mom, it says here that every student needs to get new Air Jordans."
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Mar 31, 16 5:07 PM
The whole thing is disgraceful. It makes me sick to my stomach.
By louse pt. (143), springs on Mar 31, 16 7:20 PM
You seem very very worried about Spanish. I will pray for you.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Apr 1, 16 9:53 AM
You just don't get it. It has nothing to do with Spanish. It has to do with people's sense of entitlement. Do you not see this? My grandparents wouldn't dare request translation for everything.
By louse pt. (143), springs on Apr 1, 16 10:35 PM
Ok thanks, and I'll pray for the future of the country, and the taxpayers of Springs who have to put up with this nonsense.
By louse pt. (143), springs on Apr 1, 16 10:37 PM
I bet your grandparents were great, please tell us more about them.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Apr 3, 16 10:35 AM
This conversation is over. You just don't get it.
By louse pt. (143), springs on Apr 3, 16 11:11 AM
Sobre la base de lo que sucede en la realidad , es sólo el comienzo de esta conversación
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Apr 3, 16 5:27 PM
Every other group of immigrants made it a PRIORITY to learn English , that is the issue here, nothing to do with race or ethnicity, nothing to do with country of origin just the sense of entitlement routinely exhibited
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Apr 4, 16 3:58 PM
I am not sure who has a worse effect on a community - those that believe they are entitled to more than everyone else or those that encourage it and condone it.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Apr 4, 16 4:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
If you don't live in East Hampton then this discussion is none of you business. Nothing to see.. move along.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Apr 4, 16 4:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
Not how it works harbor. This is a microcosm of problems throughout our country.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Apr 4, 16 5:32 PM
1 member liked this comment
thanks for making my point - you are not entitled to greater free speech than anyone else.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Apr 4, 16 6:07 PM