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Students walked out after a teacher demanded they 'speak American'



About 100 students exited a New Jersey high school early Monday while protesting a teacher’s recent remarks about speaking English and Spanish, according to New York 4.

New York 4 on Monday reported that the demonstration occurred at Cliffside Park High School in Cliffside, New Jersey.

Students chanted “C.P. United” while leaving their fourth period classes on Monday, and an earlier walkout during second period feature about 24 students departing.

The protests occurred after a cell phone video of the teacher reprimanding students for speaking Spanish went viral.

“Men and women are fighting,” the teacher says in the clip. “They’re not fighting for your right to speak Spanish. They’re fighting for your right to speak American.”

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“You’re being racist,” a student responds in the footage, which was posted on Snapchat and other social media platforms. “I know how to speak English. Goodbye. Goodbye.”

The video has since been viewed more than 9,000 times, and it shows students leaving the classroom during the incident.

Students told New York 4 that the teacher repeatedly told two students to stop whispering to one another in Spanish.

The teacher – whose name has not been disclosed – had previously confronted students for speaking Spanish during and between classes.

Students added that Cliffside Park’s principal on Monday warned over the school’s loudspeaker that anyone who walked out of the building would be disciplined.

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Someone ultimately pulled the fire alarm just after 11:30 a.m. local time there, however, resulting in all 1,100 students leaving the school.

Junior Vianery Cabrera, 16, told NBC 2 that she was one of the students involved in the incident last Thursday.

“I have the right to speak Spanish,” she said. “I have the right to speak English. I have the right to speak whatever language I speak, and that’s my right.”

“There’s no law that says that I should or I must speak English,” added Cabrera, who came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic three years ago.

New York 4 reported that 67 percent of students at Cliffside Park High School self-identify as people of color, and more than 40 languages are spoken there.

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