Student Suspended, Called 'Bigot' for Asking That Class Be in English

Wednesday, 24 Jul 2013 01:22 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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An Arizona nursing student who claims she was called a "bigot" and unjustly suspended after requesting that her college classes be conducted in English has filed suit in state court.

Terri Bennett, 50, who says she was the only native English speaker in some of her classes at Pima Community College in Tucson, accused the school and David Kutzler, the director of the nursing program, of harassing her and violating the state constitution, the Washington Times reported.

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Earlier this year, Bennett said she approached Kutzler and complained that her peers' use of Spanish during classroom discussions impeded her "ability to concentrate, focus, listen to the lecture, and participate in group studies, clinicals, and other learning activities."

Kutzler reportedly called Bennett a "bigot and a b—," and accused her of discriminating against her classmates, according to the complaint filed this week in Pima County Superior Court. She was also instructed to receive "counseling to improve her communication style and to learn to be less abrasive," the lawsuit said.

The following week, Bennett said, she received a progress report which detailed her "ineffective communication skills." After that, she was suspended and escorted off school property by security.

Kutzler has defended his actions and denies ever calling Bennett a derogatory name.

"Terri came to me outraged because two classmates were having private conversations in class, to which she was not a party, in Spanish," Kutzler told The Daily Caller. "At one point in the conversation, Terri proclaimed 'I'm not a bigot.' I told her that trying to force people to speak only English in her presence could easily be seen as bigoted She demanded that I force students to speak only English to each other… At one point she became exasperated and said, 'Oh, so now I’m the b—.' I actually didn't know how to respond, so I said nothing."

Bennett is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

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