A Wisconsin schoolgirl was banned from playing in her team's basketball after being chastised for speaking in her Native American language. The 12-year-old from outside Green Bay was punished by her teacher for saying "I love you" to a couple of classmates in the language of the Menominee Tribe, according to the WGBA-NBC26.
Miranda Washinawatok was disciplined by Julie Gurta, a teacher who apparently didn't understand what her student was saying. "She sort of threw her hands down on her desk and said, 'Don’t be talking like that. How would you like it if I started talking Polish?'" Washinawatok told NBC26.
Both the teacher involved and the school's principal have apologized for the decision to bench the Native American basketball player.
That's not enough to satisfy the seventh-grader's mother, who's raising hell over her daughter's treatment. Tanaes Washinawatok says the handling of the incident was unfair and she's been working to get the teacher fired.
Shawano Sacred Heart school has a majority of Native American students. The mother says that's part of the issue. "I'm not going to let anybody tell me they can't speak that language,' Tanaes said. 'It was unfair treatment I thought ... It could have been handled differently.'"
Green Bay's Catholic diocese issued an apology to the entire Native American tribe involved in the situation.
Miranda had tears running down her face as she told NBC26 that nobody from the school had personally spoken to her or apologized.
Students and staff at the school are going to have cultural awareness meetings to help make sure a similar situation doesn't happen again.
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