Sacred Heart, diocese send apologies
School's action satisfies Washinawatok family
By Tiffany Wilbert
Letters of apology dated Feb. 22 were addressed to the family of Miranda Washinawatok and the Menominee Nation.
"It did take a month, but I know the letters helped with the closure of the incident that happened," she said. "We can move forward now with the diversity training and cultural events that they hope to bring into the school."
In his letter, Principal Dan Minter said he was "deeply sorry for any personal or collective hurt" that he caused Miranda, her family or the Menominee Nation.
The mother was satisfied until she read the teacher's letter, it seems:
Menominee Language Incident: Teacher Offers Letter of Justification; Faults Miranda
By Levi Rickert
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."
The teacher doesn't seem to understand that others are apologizing for her bad behavior. I guess someone needs to say it explicitly: Miranda was right and Miss Gurta was wrong.
For more on apologies, see Why Wounded Knee Matters and No Apologies Without Remedies.
Below: 7th-grader Miranda Washinawatok.