A number of teachers at Anthony Aguirre Junior High in Channelview, Texas, are under fire after they held a mock awards ceremony on Tuesday and named a 13-year-old student "most likely to become a terrorist."
Lizeth Villanueva, a seventh grader, received a certificate from one teacher, and said that copies of the same certificate were given to several other students while other students and teachers "watched and laughed."
"They just found it as a joke," Lizeth told KHOU. "She said that some people might get offended, but she doesn’t really care about our feelings, she was laughing about it."
Ena Hernandez, Lizeth's mother, found the certificate strange because Lizeth is in an advanced academic program and has never been in trouble. Hernandez suggested that she believed the award had something to do with the terrorist attack in Manchester that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert. The youngest known victim so far was only 8 years old.
"I read it twice. I’m like, 'What is this?!' It doesn’t look good at all, especially coming from a teacher, a grown-up woman,” Hernandez said. “It doesn’t look good because everything that’s going on right now.”
Hernandez had a meeting with the school's principal, Eric Lathan, and said that he personally apologized. “I just think it’s going to stop, it’s going to end there,” she added.
The Channelview Independent School District issued a statement in which they said teachers would be disciplined, but did not disclose what form that would take.
"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."
But Lizeth says she knows what should happen: “Get fired, at least, or something,” she said.