Daphne High's New Foreign Language: Arabic

Daphne High's New Foreign Language: Arabic

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ALABAMA -

El Khattabi is new to the Daphne campus. Originally from Morocco, she formerly taught at the University of South Alabama.

“The teacher actually speaks six languages and so, had the demand not been high, we could have offered Spanish and sections of French as well but we had such a high demand for Arabic that we have three full classes of Arabic,” says Daphne High Principal Dr. Meredith Foster.

Originally, Foster was looking for a Mandarin teacher, but when that fell through, Khattabi was hired.

“I’ve been talking to other parents who are very excited about all the opportunities that Daphne High is bringing to all their children,” says Baldwin County Superintendent Alan Lee.

And surprisingly, those in the class say they love it.

“The class is fun, it’s intuitive, it’s interactive, it’s a fun language to learn,” says Daphne Senior Timothy Jones.

“I signed up for Arabic because I thought it was interesting, I went through Spanish I and II. I just thought it’d be an interesting language to take right now, it’s not difficult,” says Senior Josh Ducote.

But not everyone is happy about the new addition. Margy Bartle’s daughter is a freshman who was signed up for the class when all the Spanish classes were full.

“She was in Arabic. She asked for Spanish, which you know, in this country you need it. And she comes home with Arabic and we’re like what in the world?” says Bartle.

Bartle called the school that day and moved her daughter to a completely different class.

Dr. Foster says all the students who are in the class are students who wanted to be in the class and parents who wanted that to change had the first two weeks of school to do so.

Parents may also be worried considering a well-known Daphne native turned terrorist, Omar Hammami, who attended Daphne High. But Sam Tyler says the culture is in no way being forced on them.

 “They’re very generous people, and you know Arabic people are just like us, they’re completely normal but you might get a crazy one every now and then. It’s one of my favorite classes,” says Tyler.

While principal Foster says they’ve only heard complaints from two parents, they’ve had several compliments from parents saying they’re glad their child is being exposed to different cultures.

Superintendent Allen Lee says soon all students K-12 will have access to Rosetta Stone on a daily basis.

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