A Houston-area school district has disciplined several teachers after a student received a mock award that named her “most likely to become a terrorist”.
Certificates given to the 13-year-old girl and other students last week at Lance Cpl Anthony Aguirre Junior High School, near Houston, were supposed to be lighthearted.
But the Channelview Independent School District issued a statement apologizing for the “insensitive and offensive fake mock awards”.
Lizeth Villanueva, who was given the “terrorist” certificate, told a local CNN affiliate her teacher gave out the “mock awards” in an advanced learning class, warning students that though the awards were supposed to be funny, they “might hurt feelings”.
“It was not a joke,” Lizeth told the TV station.
“I do not feel comfortable with this …
I do not feel comfortable being in the same classroom with [the teacher].”
Her mother, Ena Hernandez, said she was upset by the certificate given to her daughter, particularly in light of the recent bombing at a pop concert in Manchester which left 22 people dead and dozens injured.
Lauren Easton, whose sister received the “white people” award, told CNN another award was titled “most likely to be homeless in Guatemala”.
“My initial reaction was shock,” she said.
“I couldn’t believe a teacher could be that bold.”
A Channelview school district spokesman, Mark Kramer, told KPRC-TV in Houston, the certificates were a “poor attempt to poke fun”.
An apology from the school’s principal, meanwhile, read: “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 Channelview district declined to identify the teachers or disclose the punishment the teachers received.