The owner of a South Valley pumpkin patch is getting death threats because of a canceled school field trip.
A kindergarten trip to Porterville's only pumpkin patch was axed at the last minute, because the owner requested teachers speak to her in English.
The owner of Changala's Pumpkin Patch says her request may have gotten lost in translation.
The kids who were supposed to visit the patch are in a dual immersion program – that's a educational program where teachers only speak Spanish to the English-speaking kids so they can learn the language.
"I am very furious. They were counting days in class, we were counting days at home," says Tabatha Herod, a parent of one of the kindergartners.
Teachers at Summit Charter Academy canceled the kindergarten trip the day before the event, sending a letter home with parents that said, "Unfortunately, the owners have requested that teachers not speak Spanish while at the patch. We offered to provide translators ... but they stated we were only welcome if we spoke English."
The program's policy is that teachers only speak Spanish around the kids.
"He's only 5, he's in kindergarten. He doesn't understand discrimination," said Herod.
But the pumpkin patch owner says, her words were taken out of context.
The owner needed a teacher's help with a misbehaving child from the same school during a class field trip last week.
"She wasn't watching her kids and we needed to communicate to her so she knows this is the area you need to be in," said Elizabeth Changala.
But she says the teacher refused to speak to her in English.
Changala didn't want that to happen again.
But she says she never suggested canceling the trip.
"I said I would appreciate it if you let your teachers know that if I address them and ask them, I'd appreciate the courtesy of being answered in English. She said they could bring an interpreter. I tried to point out, this is private property, we have a liability, children can get hurt," said Changala.
Now she's getting death threats.
She says people think she's racist.
Someone even posted a note at the entrance to the pumpkin patch, calling her a racist and telling her to go to hell.
"A pumpkin is not worth dying over, and speaking English isn't worth dying over, or speaking Spanish isn't worth dying over," said Changala.
"I don't speak Spanish either, I'm not trying to do this whole racist thing. But it's unfair to the kids, it's discriminating against them," said Herod.
Changala says she's scared for her safety, and if she continues to get death threats, she might just shut this pumpkin patch down.
The school still plans to give the kindergarten students a pumpkin experience - teachers will bring pumpkins to their classroom.
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