Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
7th Grader Miranda Washinawatok
SHAWNO, WISCONSIN - It has been over a month since seventh grader Miranda Washinawatok was suspended from the parent recognition night basketball game for speaking in Menominee.
This week her mother, Tanaes Washinawatok, received four letters from four different people associated with the Sacred Heart Catholic School in this small town, located six miles south of the Menominee Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin.
“I was very disappointed,”
said Tanaes Washinawatok.
The letters came from the Dr. Joseph Bound, director of education for the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay; Dan Minter, principal of Scared Heart; Billie Jo DeQuaine, assistant girls basketball coach and Julie L Gurta, teacher.
The Native News Network obtained copies of all four letters. Three of the letters were letters of apology.
The differing letter came from the teacher of Miranda, Miss Julie L Gurta. She is the one person who has direct contact with Miranda on a day to day basis. She did not offer an apology for slamming her hand on the desk and embarrassing the 12 year old for speaking her native language. She offered a letter of justification.
The letter differed in another way as well: Miss Gurta's letter was not written on official letterhead as were the other three letters. Her letter contained one paragraph that was 21 lines long.
Miss Gurta writes:
"In an academic setting, a student must be respectful of all of the other students - language and behavior that creates a possibility of elitism, or simply excludes other students, can create or increase racial and cultural tensions."
Four weeks after the incident, Miranda's mother was told that Miranda by the teacher, who never has had a behavior problem in school and is an honor roll student, had behavior problems the day of the incident.
The only apology made in her letter was that she did not make Miranda's mother aware of them sooner.
Miss Gurta writes in the final sentence of her letter:
"Unfortunately, the actions of your daughter were not brought to your attention as quickly as they should have been, and for this I apologize."
Tanaes Washinawatok - Menominee
“I do not consider her letter a proper apology at all.”
said Tanaes Washinawatok.
posted February 25, 2012 7:50 am est
Thank you for visiting. We are loading the new Native News Network website. Visitors always come first, so if you click on a link only to find the corresponding page is unavailable, please use this link to contact us here ».
Then, tell us how we can help you.
I will contact you personally.