ACLU investigates school's English-only rule

DODGE CITY, Kansas (KTRK) -- The ACLU is looking in to see if a community college's English-only rule is constitutional, after receiving complaints that students were being told they couldn't speak Spanish.

It's a rule cosmetology students at a Kansas community college said they were told to follow at all times, even outside of class, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas to step in.

"If the practice is to tell college students that they can't speak Spanish any time outside of actual in-class learning situations, then that practice violates the constitutional rights of the students," said Doug Bonney, chief counsel for the Kansas ACLU.

In a letter addressed to college president Harold Nolte, the ACLU claims a student was told by a professor Spanish-speaking clients couldn't get cosmetology services, reported KWCH.

College attorney Glenn Kerbs said that's not true.

"I've spoken to the director she says that's not an accurate statement and again points out to the fact that a high percentage of our clientele are non-English speaking and we understand that."

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Although Kerbs said the college does have an English-only policy, it only applies during class time, something the ACLU plans to review.

"We're just trying to get to the bottom of what the policy is and make sure the policy is consistent with the law, which limits school's ability to control what language people speak basically to classroom learning situations," said Bonney.

Kerbs said the college plans to review their policies once again with their students, to ensure they understand them correctly.

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