A New Jersey teacher was recorded telling students in her class to "speak American," sparking outrage among those affiliated with the school.
The instructor at Cliffside Park High School was substituting for a junior/senior level math class when she allegedly heard students whispering in Spanish, WPIX 11 reports. She asked the students to stop, then shared a more direct message with the class.
"Men and women are fighting," the teacher said. "They are not fighting for your right to speak Spanish. They are fighting for your right to speak American."
The local news station reports that the school has a large number of Spanish-speaking students who come from Hispanic cultures.
After the teacher's controversial comment, three students walked out of the classroom to express their disapproval.
"You're being racist," one student told the teacher before walking out of the room. "I know how to speak English."
The teacher in the 25-second videoed exchange normally teacher English at the high school, but students say she often takes issue when they speak Spanish, even outside the classroom.
"If we were speaking Spanish in the hallways and she heard us speak Spanish, she would single us out like 'No, you can't speak Spanish here,' " one student told WPIX.
The school principal called for an assembly Friday to discuss the incident with students and ask what they thought should be done. Some students called for the teacher's resignation or suspension, while others asked that the principal speak to each grade individually about the issue.
During the assembly, some students carried flags to represent their heritage and others have planned a peaceful walk-out on Monday morning.