Earlier this week there were several reports about a Houston-area school, which awarded seventh-grade students with the following titles: "most likely to become a terrorist" and "most likely to blend in with white people." The students got the certificates during a mock awards ceremony, which followed the official awards ceremony at Anthony Aguirre Junior High.
"As principal, I want to assure all students, parents and community members that these award statements and ideals are NOT representative of the Aguirre Vision Mission, and educational goals for its students," the statement said.
Lizeth Villanueva was given the "most likely to become a terrorist" award in her AVID class, an advanced learning program to prepare students for college. Her mother, Ena Hernandez, was furious and said her daughter was hurt by the award. "When she first showed me the paper, I'm like, 'What is this?' I read it again, and I'm like, 'What is this?' That's when my daughter told me it was supposed to be a joke," Hernandez said. "It doesn't look like a joke to me."
Lizeth said the teacher meant the awards to be funny and gave out others but added that "it might hurt [students'] feelings."
"It was not a joke," Lizeth said. "I do not feel comfortable with this. … I do not feel comfortable being in the same classroom with" the teacher.
Sydney Cesar was given a certificate that said she is "most likely to blend in with white people."
"It made me feel really embarrassed about what other people were going to say," she told KRIV-TV. Sydney didn't go to the last day of school because she was upset by the award, she said.
"For that child to either be called a terrorist or she's not black enough, basically now the students are taking that and that's her label for the rest of the school year," her mother, Latonya Robinson, said. The school principal apologized in person for the mock awards, and the district, Channelview ISD, said the teacher had been disciplined.
The AVID program said in a statement that the awards were the "reprehensible action of one teacher that does not in any way reflect the AVID values." "We do not condone, support or in any way promote this behavior," the statement said. The district did not release the teacher's name; however, Lizeth told the station the teacher was suspended.
Lizeth's mother said she doesn't think suspension is enough, though. "Get fired, at least," she said.
Can you believe it? A teacher, who is supposed to bring knowledge to the kids does such a thing. And thinks it would be funny. And, it could have been funny, if these funny awards were not connected to the race and terrorism. Is it that hard to understand? Being racist as well as bringing up stereotypes isn’t funny at all. Period.