Lizeth Villanueva, a seventh-grader at Anthony Aguirre Junior High School, Texas, was left distraught after Stacy Lockett, her teacher, gave her the ‘most likely to become a terrorist’ award during an advanced learning program. The program, held on May 23, was designed to prepare students for college and workplace success.
It was supposed to be a joke, part of a mock end-of-the-year awards ceremony where a group of teachers hand certificates to students. But this time neither the timing — on May 22 a suicide bomber killed 22 and injured 59 at the Manchester Arena, nor the act — giving out the awards intended to be funny but the teachers knew might hurt their students’ feelings — was taken jokingly.
Lizeth, who said her teacher just laughed when she signed and handed her the certificate, and her mother Ena Hernandez were furious to say the least. Hernandez told The Washington Post: “I was upset and very mad when I saw the award. I was surprised because my daughter has been doing well in the honors program.” Lizeth added:
“Two honors classes were brought together for the fake ceremony. Other awards included “most likely to cry for every little thing” that was given to a girl and “most likely to become homeless” that was presented to a boy. The three other teachers in the room laughed when the awards were handed out. They just found it as a joke. She [Stacy]said that some people might get offended, but she doesn’t really care about our feelings, she was laughing about it.”
In a statement, the Channelview Independent School District administration regretted the thoughtless award ceremony:
“We would like to apologize for the insensitive and offensive fake mock awards that were given to students in a classroom. Channelview ISD would like to assure all students, parents and community members that these award statements and ideals are not representative of the district’s vision, mission and educational goals for our students. The teachers responsible for the mock award ceremony have been disciplined according to district policy and the incident is still under investigation.”
Though Mark Kramer, a Channelview Independent School District official described the fake mock awards as a “poor attempt to poke fun” and an activity that “was not well thought-out”, Lizeth commented:
“A terrorist is a really big thing. Just what happened two, three days ago with Ariana Grande and her concert, and they’re joking around with this. It’s not something to joke around with.”
While her mother wants the teachers fired or else “they will continue doing the same thing”, Lizeth hasn’t been back to school because she “feels uncomfortable.” What do you think of the incident? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below…
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