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Basketball player benched for Native American language

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SHAWANO — A seventh-grade student from Shawano‘s Sacred Heart Catholic Academy is upset and looking for an apology after she was benched from a basketball game.

12-year-old Miranda Washinawatok got in trouble with her teacher for saying “I love you.” She says the teacher didn’t get upset about what she said, but the language she used.

Washinawatok is Native American and speaks more than one language. The teacher says Washinawatok was disrespectful and handed down an athletic suspension. “She sort of threw her hands down on her desk and said ‘don’t be talking like that.’ Washinawatok said.

Miranda’s mother, Tanaes Washinawatok said the language is part of her family’s culture. “I’m not going to let anybody tell me that they can’t speak that language,” Tanaes Washinawatok said.

The Diocese of Green Bay has issued a statement, saying the school is in the process of preparing a letter that will be sent to all parents and families explaining the situation of the athletic suspension. The letter will also include “a positive action plan for future progress in the area of education and awareness of cultural diversity at the school.”

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