HOUSTON, Texas – A mock awards ceremony for Texas middle school students ended on a sour note for one seventh-grader. Lizeth Villanueva tells KHOU teachers in the room were snickering as she and other students were handed certificates Tuesday at Channelview’s Anthony Aguirre Junior High, though she wasn’t laughing when she saw what her certificate said: “most likely to become a terrorist.” Underneath that was her teacher’s signature, KPRC notes.
Mom Ena Hernandez was furious when she got wind of the “award” later on. “I read it twice. I’m like, ‘What is this?!,’” she says. Lizeth, who the Washington Post notes is Salvadoran-American, says that when her teacher was handing out the mock awards during the advanced-placement college prep class, she acknowledged “it might hurt [students’] feelings.” Other students received awards such as “most likely to become homeless” and “most likely to cry for every little thing.” The school is now scrambling to explain how this happened.
A school official says it was a “poor attempt to poke fun” and not “well thought out,” and a school principal apologized to the 13-year-old and her mom in person.
The school district also put out a statement trying to make amends for the “insensitive and offensive fake mock awards.” The statement adds that the unnamed teachers involved “have been disciplined” and a probe is ongoing.
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