A school in Houston, Texas, is under fire after several of its teachers presented a 13-year-old student with a certificate that read “most likely to become a terrorist” during a mock awards ceremony held after the official awards ceremony.
The outrageous incident took place at Anthony Aguirre Junior High in Channelview. According to recipient Lizeth Villanueva, the teacher handed out the award during an AVID class, an advanced learning program to prepare students for college, while other faculty members watched and laughed.
“They just found it as a joke,” said the seventh-grader. “She said that some people might get offended, but she doesn’t really care about our feelings. She was laughing about it.”
The teacher reportedly told Villanueva the awards were supposed to be funny and gave out certificates to other students as well.
“It was not a joke,” the student added. “I do not feel comfortable with this ... I do not feel comfortable being in the same classroom with (the teacher).”
The teen’s mother was equally horrified and furious when she found out about the certificate, which also bore the logo of the AVID class.
“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,” mother Ena Hernandez told a local news channel. “It doesn't look like a joke to me.”
Teachers are supposed to be role models for children — and this incident does nothing but set a bad example.
“It doesn’t look good at all, especially coming from a teacher, a grown-up woman,” Hernandez added. “It doesn’t look good because everything that’s going on right now.”
Meanwhile, the school has apologized for the offensive "award" and said it was taking disciplinary action against the faculty members involved.
Moreover, the teacher who gave out the award has been suspended.
"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," read the statement.
The principal also personally apologized to the family.
The school district also released a statement addressing the controversy.
“The Channelview Independent School District Administration would like to apologize for the insensitive and offensive fake mock awards that were given to students in a classroom,” the district said. “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.”