Things That Matter

A Teacher Thought She Was Funny Handing Out Racist Awards To Students But No One Is Smiling Now

Credit: USA TODAY / Youtube

Lizeth Villanueva, a seventh grader at Anthony Aguirre Junior High School in Houston, Texas was part of an award ceremony apparently designed to take students down a notch. According to The Washington Post, several teachers watched on as students were given ridiculous “awards.” One such award was given to Villanueva: “Most likely to become a terrorist.” You read that right. The teacher in question gave 13-year-old Villanueva the insulting certificate before saying that some people might get offended, but she didn’t really care about their feelings. According to Villanueva, her teacher then proceeded to laugh along with at least three other teachers.

Lizeth Villanueva, a 13-year-old Houston honors student, was given a superlative certificate for “most likely to become a terrorist.”

Villenueva has no disciplinary history to speak of and has been an exemplary student, getting solid grades in the honors program for the last two years. Adding insult to injury, it was the day after the Manchester terrorist attack, where 22 people were killed by a suicide bomber. With anti-Latino and anti-immigrant sentiment running high right now, singling out the Salvadorian-American Villanueva must have been a particularly difficult thing — she hasn’t been back to school since.

The disgusting awards didn’t end there: a Black student by the name of Sydney Caesar was given an award for “most likely to blend in with white people.”

The school has said they’ve taken steps to correct this issue, but parents don’t think suspensions are enough. They feel the damage is already done and could happen again to others. Caesar’s mother, Latonya Robinson, told Houston news affiliate Fox26 News, “Everyone doesn’t believe that this is real. But yes, this certificate shows that this is real. This happened. And we have enough bullying as it is by other students, now it’s being done by a teacher.” Both parents want action to be taken. Villanueva thinks the teacher should be fired, and Robinson wants the same, telling Fox26 that a suspension for the rest of the semester isn’t enough punishment.

The principal of the school issued an apology via the school’s Twitter account.

The principal has reportedly taken action against the offending teachers, but wouldn’t release their names, saying it’s a “personnel matter.” However, someone let the teacher’s name slip.

NBC Houston affiliate KPRC 2 reported the teacher’s name is Stacy Lockett. One family has stood up for Lockett:

Credit: KPRC / Click2Houston

This parent said had three of her students went through Lockett’s class with no complaints.

The school district has issued an official statement on the 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.

“The teachers involved in this matter have been disciplined according to district policy and the incident is still under investigation.”

According to KPRC, there’s no word yet whether or not the teacher will be returning in the fall. But the students and families negatively effected by Lockett’s award ceremony, might be hoping for a substitute come next year.


[H/T] KHOU

READ: I’m A Latino High School History Teacher And This Is Why I Went To D.C. To Attend Trump’s Inauguration


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Two Black Moms Took Their Kids To Play In A Fountain On The Mall Then Secret Service Officers Swarmed Them With Guns

Things That Matter

Two Black Moms Took Their Kids To Play In A Fountain On The Mall Then Secret Service Officers Swarmed Them With Guns

Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Two Black mothers headed to our nation’s capital last week to give their children some playtime in the fountains at the World War II Memorial. The day was hot and the mothers thought the memorial would be a perfect place to let their children cool down and have some fun.

Unfortunately, the day quickly turned sinister when the women and their children were swarmed by Secret Service agents who pointed a rifle at them.

Last Thursday, India Johnson, 26, and Yasmeen Winston, 25, were driving their infants to take a splash in the fountains at the memorial when a Secret Service cruiser drove into their front left bumper.

The two women have reportedly been best friends since seventh grade and are mothers to boys: 13-month-old Sir Quincy (Johnson) and six-month-old G’esus (Winston). Both Sir Quincy and G’esus were sitting in the back seat of the car that they were driving. According to the women, Mother Goose Club was playing on the radio. Then, within seconds of the Secret Service cruiser driving into their car, an officer pointed a rifle at them and yelled “Get out!” and “Put your hands in the air!”

Soon enough, more officers surrounded them with guns. Eventually, Winston and Johnson were handcuffed and separated from their children. According to both women, they were detained without being given a reason as to why and were spoken to by police officers who did not wear masks, despite the current coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Washington Post, “Initially, the women said, an officer told them the vehicle had been reported stolen and that the suspects were two Black men. But the women, both African American, said no men were with them and provided proof that Johnson was the owner. She told the Secret Service she had never reported the car stolen. Eventually, the women were released — without an apology or answers to their questions.”

Winston and Johnson are now demanding that the Secret Service investigate the incident and release the details to the public.

“This incident took place near our national monuments across from the White House,” Timothy Maloney, the women’s attorney, wrote in a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray over the weekend. “It occurred after eight weeks of unprecedented national demonstrations about excessive police conduct, some of which took place right there on Constitution Avenue. Has the Secret Service learned nothing this summer?”

Speaking about the incident Winston told the Washington Post “I could have been another Breonna Taylor. I could have been another innocent woman who has no record and got shot.”

In a statement to the Post, a Secret Service spokesperson said that they had received a “query requesting the agency investigate an alleged interaction between Uniformed Division Officers and two members of the public” and that they are looking into the incident.

Winston says she and Johnson have spent the days after the incident completely traumatized.

Winston told the Post that she is currently seeking therapy and their friend is avoiding going outside of her home. “We don’t get in trouble. Nothing like this has ever happened to us. I thought the police were here to serve and protect us, and now it’s really uncomfortable,” she explained.

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A Muslim Teen Has Filed A Discrimination Claim After A Starbucks Put “ISIS” On Her Cup

Things That Matter

A Muslim Teen Has Filed A Discrimination Claim After A Starbucks Put “ISIS” On Her Cup

KSTP / Via Facebook: watch

After enduring quite a bit of pain over receiving a cup with the word “ISIS” instead of her name, a Muslim teenager has filed a human rights complaint. According to the teenager whose name (as reported by Buzzfeed) is Aishah, on July 1 she and a friend went to a Starbucks located inside of a Target in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The 19-year-old said that a barista asked her to repeat her name when taking her order, but she was shocked by what she saw when she first received it.

Aishah says that she feels as if the incident happened because she was wearing a hijab and a face mask.

“I felt a lot of emotions, and shock was the main one because I actually couldn’t believe this was happening,” Aishah told BuzzFeed News.

Speaking about the incident, the deputy director of the Minnesota chapter of Council on American–Islamic Relations, Mohamed Ibrahim said “This is a reminder that Islamophobia is alive and present in our communities.” In an effort to address the issue, the group has made efforts to help Aishah file a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

In her interview with Buzzfeed, Aishah said the barista said that “ISIS” had been put on a cup because they hadn’t heard her name correctly. According to Buzzfeed, the Target employee who served Aishah said “they did not hear her name.”

When a manager attempted to explain to Aishah that people’s names are frequently misspelled on cups, she said that the explanations were “not credible or acceptable.”

“When somebody orders a drink at Starbucks — if the barista can’t spell the name, then they ask you to spell it,” Aishah explained in her interview that such a mistake had never happened with her order.

Aishah’s human rights complaint, claims a manager offered her a free drink and a $25 gift card for her troubles and had her escorted out by security.

Target, which oversees the Starbucks location where the incident happened, told BuzzFeed in a statement that it’s “very sorry for this guest’s experience at our store and immediately apologized to her when she made our store leaders aware of the situation.”

A spokesperson also explained that an internal investigation found “it was not a deliberate act but an unfortunate mistake” and that the company will offer additional training to the barista. According to Aishah, she has yet to hear from Target since she called the company to complain. She also has not heard from CAIR-MN.

Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR-MN, is calling for the barista and manager in question to be fired and for Target and Starbucks to reinvest in training for their employees. “We are hoping that bringing light to this incident will actually transform how Target and Starbucks and many other companies deal with such incidents,” Hussein said.

Unfortunately, it’s not the first time Starbucks has received such a complaint.

In August of last year, a man told a barista at a Philadelphia Starbucks that his name was Aziz. He was soon given a drink with the term “ISIS.”

“The barista mistakenly spelled it incorrectly,” a Starbucks spokesperson told NBC News at the time.

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