August 30, 2007

Students Chant "White Power" At Catholic High School In Colorado

**Update 2--student and teacher disciplined, parents hope "school officials will do the right thing and use the incident as an opportunity to teach tolerance and respect"

**Update--original reports exaggerated scope of comments--only one student chanted "White Power", most of the students did not hear the comment:
Holy Family Principal Sr. Mary Rose Lieb, O.S.F. released a statement on Thursday evening about the incident:
"On Tuesday in a Spanish-language class at Holy Family High School, a single handful of students used heated and inappropriate rhetoric in a discussion on immigration. In a class of approximately 30 students, fewer than six students voiced strong anti-immigration opinions. The remaining two-thirds of the class were silent or voiced support for immigrants. At the end of the discussion, one student inappropriately said "white power," two or three times. Most of the students in the class did not hear the comments. Contrary to media reports, there were no chants by more than one student. Two students, who were offended, asked to leave the classroom and were given permission to leave. However, the discussion ended when other students realized how these students were affected and all of the students remained until the end of class."

"When the administration received a complaint regarding this discussion, interviews were conducted of the students in the classroom as well as the teacher. The student who acted inappropriately was disciplined and the situation has been addressed with the teacher."

"The administration treated this situation as a teaching moment - an opportunity to reaffirm that respect and charity should be the foundation of every dialogue and encounter with another."

"Holy Family High School is dedicated to being a family - through respect and charity for all its members. It's always had a diverse student body. It values that diversity and strives to be a place of unity and respect for all. The distortion and inaccurate reporting of this situation is hurtful to a community that should be praised for how well they get along in their diversity."

"In all archdiocesan Catholic schools there is ongoing in-services for administrators, teachers and staff on relevant topics such as immigration, historic justice, issues of bullying and respect."
As is usual, and predicted by me below, the original reports were greatly exaggerated. The scope was limited to one student, and most of the other students weren't even aware of the comments until after the fact.

Not a banner day for those who oppose illegal immigration . . . let's leave the race-baiting and raza chants to the amnesty folks:
It started with a simple question and ended with students chanting "white power" in a classroom.

It happened Tuesday in a classroom at Holy Family High School, the Catholic school that sits at the corner of 144th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard in Broomfield.

The classroom discussion started with the question: Why do students need to learn Spanish?

According to the Archdiocese of Denver, the conversation soon became about immigration and it turned ugly.

"It became a heated discussion and some rhetoric was used that was inappropriate for the classroom," said Jeanette DeMelo, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Denver.

At least one e-mail sent to 9NEWS said that students started a chant of "white power" and some said that all Mexicans should go back to Mexico.

"Immigration is an explosive topic right now. It seeped into the classroom," she said.
At this point, it doesn't seem like the whole story is clearly known, and what exactly provoked the racial comments made by students in the class, or if any counterresponses were made.

Students, as I did, can learn Spanish as a second language just as they would any other--and given the regional significance of the language even without the illegal immigration angle, it would be a good language to know. It was my first "foreign" language, as my great-grandparents (they came from New Mexico, and the "border crossed them, they didn't cross the border") were the last generation to speak the language fluently, along with English.

Of course in this environment of political correctness, only chants of "white power" get attention on the 5 o'clock news. Chants of ¡Viva la Raza! and ¡Si Se Puede! are largely ignored.

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