Spring Branch Mom Can't Register Her Kids For School -- Because They Speak English

Kelly Martinez can't find an elementary school in the Spring Branch Independent School District for her two sons – ages 6 and 4 – because they don't speak Spanish.

Edgewood Elementary, Martinez's zoned school, is 95 percent Hispanic, and last week a school official told her that the school didn't offer "mainstream" classes but classes with a goal of teaching "as much English as possible," according to Martinez. Her youngest son didn't qualify for the pre-kindergarten class because he doesn’t speak Spanish.

"[The school's principal] was positive there would be English instruction, and the only difference would be that the other children have brown skin," Martinez says. "That's not an issue, I have brown skin, but the language is still an issue." (Update: Martinez notes in the comments that it was a school official who said this, not the prinicipal.)

On Monday when school started, Martinez took her sons to the neighboring Cedar Brook Elementary, which has classes for both her sons with English as the first language. She filled out transfer papers but was told today that Cedar Brook didn't have extra space for her sons, who have sat out the first three days of school. The suggestion from the district is to split up the boys, one at Edgewood and the other at an off-campus pre-kindergarten center.

The school district sent Hair Balls a statement that read, "Ms. Martinez was asked and encouraged last Friday to schedule a meeting with the Edgewood Elementary principal. We are happy to report today that a meeting on the campus of Edgewood Elementary has been planned and confirmed."

According to the statement, Edgewood operates mainstream and bilingual kindergarten classes. The pre-kindergarten class was not addressed.

Cedar Brook would be the ideal location, Martinez says, but she'll enroll her sons at different locations if she has to.

"The principal has the final say on who goes there, and I guess that's not me," Martinez says.

-- Paul Knight

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