CHANNELVIEW, Tex. (CBS/AP) — A Houston-area school district has disciplined several teachers after a student received a mock award naming her “most likely to become a terrorist.”
Anthony Aguiree Junior High in Channelview, Texas near Houston held a mock end-of-the-year awards ceremony, where a group of teachers hand certificates, meant to be a joke, to students.
But it was no laughing matter for 13-year-old Lizeth Villanueva, who received a “most likely to become a terrorist” award.
Lizeth, a seventh grader, said her teacher and other teachers laughed, when the teacher signed and handed her the certificate.
The awards were given out just one day after the terrorist suicide bombing attack at the end of the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.
Lizeth’s mother Ena Hernandez didn’t find the award funny either.
“I was upset and very mad when I saw the award,” Hernandez told The Washington Post. “I was surprised because my daughter has been doing well in the honors program.”
Lizeth Villanueva has been in her school’s academic honors program for two years. She gets good grades and has never been a discipline problem, Hernandez said.
Lizeth, who is Salvadoran American, said she was shocked at the award.
Two honors classes were brought together for the fake ceremony, she said. 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, Lizeth said.
What was thought to be fun and lighthearted, was a “poor attempt to poke fun” and it “wasn’t well thought out,” Channelview Independent School District spokesman Mark Kramer told a Houston station.
Hernandez said the principal, Eric Lathan, personally apologized during a meeting at the school.
In a statement the school district said:
“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.”
The district declined to disclose the punishment the teachers received.
Both Lizeth and her mother would like the teachers be fired. Lizeth has not been back to school since she received the certificate.
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