Student Suspended for Requesting English be Spoken in Arizona Classroom

Arlington, VA – ProEnglish is providing legal support for a student who was suspended merely for asking that students speak English in her classroom and during student projects. Terri Bennett, a nursing student at Pima Community College (PCC) in Tuscon, Arizona asked school administrators to make sure students speak English in the class so she could learn.

After making this simple request, school administrators called Ms. Bennett a “bigot,” and she received a nine-month suspension. Ms. Bennett reached out to ProEnglish for assistance in May as PCC took these actions against her.

ProEnglish contacted the Arizona law firm of Munger & Chadwick to represent Ms. Bennett. On July 8, 2013, the school was served with a complaint from Ms. Bennett through her attorneys, seeking administrative review.

On Monday, July 15, a complaint seeking monetary damages against the school was filed in state court. The state Attorney General Tom Horne was also formally notified about Ms. Bennett’s case as the school is in violation of Arizona’s official English amendment.

“What happened to Terri Bennett is an outrage,” said ProEnglish Executive Director Robert Vandervoort. “For simply seeking a classroom environment where she can learn in English, Terri was harshly treated by the PCC administration, viciously insulted, and punished with a nine-month suspension.”

“This school should be known as “Politically Correct College,” Vandervoort continued. “We look forward to bringing justice for Terri and making sure other students are allowed to learn in English.”

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