End of the year award ceremonies are common. But one ceremony at a Texas junior high school has parents up in arms over the awards their children were receiving. One honor student, in particular, was devastated after her teacher gave her the “Most likely to become a terrorist” award on Tuesday. The ceremony was supposedly meant to be a “funny” event before the summer break, but it was anything but funny.
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Lizeth Villanueva, a 13-year-old Salvadoran-American student, was shocked when she received her “terrorist” award a day after the Manchester bombing at an Ariana Grande concert.
When her mother picked her up from Lance Corporal Anthony Aguirre Junior High in Channelview later that day, she showed her the award. Mom naturally became furious.
“It is kind of hard to believe somebody would do that,” Ena Hernandez, Villanueva’s mom, said. “When she said my name I turned around like what, what did she just say? I was very upset. I was mad but didn’t show it,” Lizeth told Fox 26 Houston.
The group of teachers that orchestrated the “mock” award ceremony in their classrooms said the awards were not meant to offensive; they were supposed to be “funny.”
Lizeth wasn’t the only honor student to receive an offensive award. She told The Washington Post that other students in her class received awards including “most likely to cry for every little thing” and “most likely to become homeless.” She has yet to come back to school as she “feels uncomfortable.”
The spokesman for the district, Mark Kramer, tried to do damage control when he told KPRC that the award show was a “poor attempt to poke fun” and it “wasn’t well thought out.”
Representatives from the Channelview Independent School District released a statement to the public and parents apologizing for the insensitive incident.
“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.”
Hernandez has said she wasn’t the only parent complaining about her child’s offensive award. After many complaints, Hernandez and the other parents were informed that the teachers were suspended but not fired. Hernandez says a suspension wasn’t sufficient as she wants them fired or “they will continue doing the same thing.”