The new requirement would introduce her son to a foreign language class next school year.
Heidi Bonito is worried because her son, who she said is already struggling with his current English, reading and math skills, will be required to take a 40-minute per week Spanish language class next year.
I am very concerned with introducing another language to him next year, Bonito explained. I as a parent would like another option besides a Spanish class. I just dont feel that he is ready, as an individual student, to introduce a completely new language.
Bonito felt that Spanish would be particularly difficult to learn, especially for young students who havent yet mastered English, because it reverses some of the common rules and foundations of the English language.
Bonito referenced the structure of Spanish language sentences and certain phrases. [English says] They go to the blue house, while Spanish says, They go to the house blue, she explained.
And that can be very confusing for a younger student.
Bonito said that other class options like music, art, literature or speech would be better suited for her son.
She also felt that offering American Sign Language would be a good alternative to Spanish or other foreign languages, as it would reinforce English skills but also expose her son to another form of communication.
With sign language youre still practicing to spell, youre practicing vocabulary and using motor skills, Bonito said. I would just really like another option for my son. I am truly concerned I really want him to master the English language first.
An introductory Spanish class was introduced this year to all Polk County students in fourth and fifth grades.
The classes were implemented to build interest and increase awareness of another culture.
Sorrells noted during the meeting that numerous educational studies have shown that children exposed to other languages at early ages tend to learn and perform better in regards to their own language.
Board members said Tuesday that they understood Bonitos concerns. Sorrells agreed Tuesday to continue to further discuss Bonitos concerns at a later date.