Theft sends Spanish student back

By Denebola
Published: November 2007

By Nicole Repina
After Newton Police caught two Spanish exchange students shoplifting on November 8, the exchange program coordinators sent the two students back to Spain.
The students were shoplifting from Bloomingdales at the Chestnut Hill Mall. The Newton Police immediately informed their host parents after finding them.
Although Bloomingdales did not press charges, the students were sent back home on the very next flight to Spain the following Friday afternoon. The coordinators felt that it was a serious offense that should be punished.
The host families were saddened by this turn of events. “They were really good kids making bad judgments,” one of the student’s host’s mother said. “[He] was a very lovely boy who liked soccer and enjoyed trying to speak English.”
One of the student’s foster sisters said that the exchange students hung out a lot together and were good friends. She also was disappointed that they were punished so heavily.
“I feel bad that they got sent back,” she said.
The teachers in charge of the exchange were also very disappointed.
“We didn’t see it coming at all,” Spanish teacher Jill Christensen said.
Because of this incident, the student’s host siblings will probably not be staying with the exchange student’s houses when they go to Spain in February. The trip, however, will proceed as planned, and has been a worthwhile educational experience for all of the exchange students.
Despite the shoplifting, the rest of the program went without incident. 21 Spanish students visited Newton South for three weeks in November as part of an exchange between the school and El Colegio de Jesus y Maria in Valladolid, Spain.
The students had different experiences in learning English as that some had studied the language most of their lives, while others started fairly recently.
Spanish students toured New England, visiting historical landmarks in Boston, Salem, Lexington and Concord. Some visited New York on the long weekend.
Many South students hosting the families, however, felt that the Spanish exchange students did not fully assimilate into American culture.
“They went to parties all the time,” junior Sam Donovan said. “They went to other people’s houses and ate pizza and chips.” Donovan was disappointed that his exchange student hardly ever ate dinner with his family.

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