LETTER: Latino Students Spark Discussion 

Thank you for the interesting and informative article about Spanish-speaking students in the Richmond Public Schools. It brought to mind a possible benefit of regional cooperation.

A short time ago, I volunteered as an interpreter and translator for kindergarten registration at an RPS school in South Richmond with a large Hispanic population. This turned out to be a laborious and frustrating experience because none of the voluminous forms was available in Spanish. I knew from experience that three miles away, right across Chippenham Parkway, was a school with all of the necessary forms available in English and Spanish. The school with the translated forms was in Chesterfield County.

Many of the schools in South Richmond and many of the schools in eastern Chesterfield County have much more in common with each other than they do with most other schools in their own districts. Is there a way that these schools could cooperate and pool their resources for the good of everybody concerned? For example, could these districts share the cost of getting things translated?

Mary Coiner

I don't know why the Latino students are complaining about the school system. Actually, they don't have a right to anything, because they are not citizens. They are the only ethnic group that is complaining about what America doesn't give them, rather than being appreciative of what America does give them (jobs, housing, food stamps and education for their children).

America does more for them, than, in my opinion, any Western country, and way more than their own country. The rapid influx of Central Americans took everyone by surprise, especially the school system. The school system has nothing to go by — no previous school records — so that they cannot even ascertain what level they are on.

Do they really understand the American system of education? I would suggest they take a mini-recorder to class and record the lecture. I would also suggest "Google translate." There are other resources, as well, like English-to-Spanish dictionaries. YouTube also has free tutorials. The libraries have computers to use.

They just have to work harder. America doesn't owe them anything.

Tracye James




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