Player Benched For Saying ‘I Love You’

March 1, 2012 by staff 

Player Benched For Saying ‘I Love You’, Three little phrases — I love you; hello; thank you — uttered in a young girl’s native tongue and then translated have sparked a furor at a middle school in Wisconsin.

The dust-up began in January when Grade 7 student Miranda Washinawatok, who will turn 13 at the end of March, was reprimanded in class for speaking in Menominee — the language of the Menominee nation — in her classroom at Sacred Heart Catholic School in the small town of Shawno in northeastern Wisconsin, just south of the Menominee Indian Reservation.

Miranda’s teacher reprimanded her after she spoke and translated these phrases to three other students, according to Miranda’s mother, Tanaes Washinawatok, who works for the Menominee Indian Tribe.

When Tanaes asked her daughter what happened, Miranda told her mother that her teacher, Julie Gurta, slammed her hands down on her desk and said she wasn’t supposed to be speaking Menominee because how would she know if Miranda was saying something bad.

Then she reportedly asked Miranda: How would you like it if I spoke Polish and you didn’t understand?

During the next class, another teacher reportedly told Miranda and her class that she didn’t appreciate it that Miranda upset the teacher. “She was singled out,” said her mother in an interview with the Star.

Later that day, Miranda was benched rather than playing in that night’s parent recognition basketball game. When her mother picked her up after practice, Miranda told her mother she had been benched “for attitude issues,” recounts Tanaes.

But when Tanaes Washinawatok asked school officials why her daughter wasn’t allowed to play in the game, she didn’t get a straight answer, she said.

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