This Nursing Student Sued Her College because Her Classmates Spoke Spanish

This is Terri Bennett, a former nursing student at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona.

Terry Bennett Pima Community College

Bennett says she was wrongly suspended from school in 2013 after she complained that her classmates were speaking Spanish.

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So Bennett sued Pima Community College for “violating her rights” as an English speaker.

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So what the hell happened?

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According to Bennett, several of her classmates spoke Spanish during class – some translating for others – which made for an unproductive learning environment. So Bennett eventually spoke to the director of the nursing program to complain that her “education was being impeded by the constant disruption” of students speaking Spanish. Bennett claims she was then suspended for her complaints. In her lawsuit, Bennett claimed that PCC was violating an Arizona law that requires all public officials to be proficient in English.

But Pima Community College officials had a completely different story.

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Credit: Pima Community College

PCC officials said the suspension wasn’t a matter of a simple complaint. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the college presented evidence during the trial that showed Bennett was harassing fellow students, calling them “spics, beaners and illegals.” Bennett also confronted another student and said: “This is America. You’re not in Mexico. Speak English.”

After hearing all the evidence, the jury in the case ruled in favor of Pima Community College, and Bennett was ordered to pay $110,000 in legal fees for PCC.

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“You can’t go around as a college telling people they can’t speak their own language,” said Pima Community College’s lawyer, Georgia Staton.

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