Protest held against new Arabic school in HISD

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - In HISD, Arabic is the second-most common foreign language spoken at home.

That's just one reason HISD built the first Arabic immersion school in the country.

A cross-functional team tasked with studying the district's language data determined the Arabic Immersion Magnet School located on W 28th St. should focus on Modern Standard Arabic.

Half of the day is in English and half of it is in Arabic. Right now the students are pre-school and kindergarteners.

HISD superintendent Dr. Terry Grier said students will one day "need to converse with people we're doing business with across the world."

Some people find the language or culture so offensive and are protesting on the school's first day open.

"We oppose it because we have millions of English learners," Elizabeth Theiss said. "We believe they need to assimilate when they come to the United States and put a high priority on speaking English."

Knowing there would be opposition to the school's intentions, others came out to protest the protesters.

Grier encouraged all of it, saying "we respect that."

He said students come to this school from 40 different zip codes.  Admission was based on a lottery system.

HISD said there's studies that show children who learn two languages are more creative and accepting of other cultures.

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