You can’t make this stuff up, folks. Union-backed school board candidate Amy Speers’ husband Dr. D’Armond Speers, a linguist, experimented with his son’s languages by teaching him Klingon as a second language until he was three years old. He called it an “educational adventure”. We know, we were puzzled, too. Here’s what the Washington City Paper said:
“Like many Klingon speakers, Speers is by no means a hard-core Trekkie, and his decision to teach Alec Klingon is as academically serious as it is unique. The 28-year-old computer programmer is pursuing his Ph.D. in linguistics at Georgetown University, and views his effort as an educational adventure. ‘I do have a [Klingon] forehead I’ve worn a few times, but my interest is primarily in the language,’ says Speers, an affable, witty computer geek who keeps his hair in a tight ponytail.”
As part of the experiment, Amy Speers spoke to their son, Alec, only in English, while Dr. Speers spoke only in Klingon. According to the Washington City Paper, “Speers says his wife, though no fan of Klingon or Star Trek culture in general, fully approves of his project, as do his friends and relatives.”
Even in theory, a linguistic experiment on children doesn’t sound like a good idea, but to allow this experiment to be perpetrated on your own child is sort of appalling. To purposely teach your child to be a societal outcast (sorry, Trekkies) is just cruel. And, we’re not the only ones to think so. The experiment received a bit of media attention when it was first revealed.
Here’s what Gizmodo wrote about Speers:
“It’s great that he wanted to see how languages are picked up, but did he not think that there’s potential that he hindered his son’s social development by keeping focus away from a real language? I’m all for teaching foreign languages early on, but lets make it ones that are spoken on this planet, please.”
If Amy Speers would allow someone to experiment on her own child, what would she allow for the children of Adams 12? It’s a legitimate concern. And, the stakes for Adams 12 are high.
The school district has been plagued with problems from its contentious union negotiations, accusations of budget mismanagement, and petulant union protests. With the availability of several pro-reform candidates, the negative union influence on Adams 12, and the odd language experimentation with her son, why would voters in Adams County even consider Amy Speers as a viable candidate?
pagh qech wIghaj. (That’s Klingon for “We have no idea.”)