Students at Anthony Aguirre Junior High in Channelview, Texas gathered together for an awards ceremony organized by their teachers. Instead of commendations, however, they were the butt of jokes that have landed faculty members in hot water. Not the least troubling of the “awards” was the one for seventh grader Lizeth Villanueva, who received a certificate saying she was “most likely to become a terrorist.”
Teachers were reportedly laughing, but Villanueva and her family weren’t amused. The student is in advanced classes and stays out of trouble, so the family didn’t understand why teachers would give Lizeth such an label. The ceremony took place the day after the terrorist attack at a concert in Manchester, England.
“It doesn’t look good at all, especially coming from a teacher, a grown-up woman,” Villanueva’s mother, Ena Hernandez said to KHOU. “It doesn’t look good because everything that’s going on right now.”
Other awards that were handed out included “most likely to cry for every little thing,” and “most likely to become homeless.”
“She said that some people might get offended, but she doesn’t really care about our feelings,” Villanueva said.
The school district said in a statement:
The Channelview ISD Administration 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 involved in this matter have been disciplined according to district policy and the incident is still under investigation.
“That program is supposed to be for advanced kids,” Hernandez told KPRC. “It is kind of hard to believe that she’s doing that. Being a teacher–giving this to a 13-year-old. How is she going to feel when she grows up later on?”
[Image via KHOU screengrab]