Things That Matter

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

KPRC / @LindseyFOX26 / Twitter
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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A Teacher Was Fired After They Told A Student That Trump Would Deport Him Because He Didn’t Wear A Belt To School

Things That Matter

A Teacher Was Fired After They Told A Student That Trump Would Deport Him Because He Didn’t Wear A Belt To School

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It’s no coincidence that ever since Donald Trump became the President of the United States, there has been a spike in hate crimes — both physical and verbal — and the numbers only continue to rise. It seems that every day, we keep uncovering stories of discrimination and racism toward communities of color. More specifically and more recently, Latinx communities have been at the center of these hate crimes. 

From viral videos of white people telling folks to “stop speaking Spanish” or telling folks “you don’t belong here,” to mass shootings — it seems as though our community cannot catch a break. 

In late August, it was reported that the parents of a 14-year-old Latinx student at Lancaster ISD’s Obama 9th Grade Center in Texas were furious after they found out a teacher had threatened their son with deportation.

According to the mother of the teen, this all happened over a dress code violation. The teen didn’t wear a belt to school and the school dress code states that belts are “required.” The mother also tells CBS 11 that the teacher was trying to teach her son a lesson for responding, “yeah,” instead of “yes sir.” 

The teacher then went as far as telling the student that “even though you are a citizen, Trump is working on a law where he can deport you, too, because of your mom’s status.” After telling the student this, the teacher showed her son a coin with the word, “ICE.”

The teen then texted his mother about the incident and his parents went to the school to address the teacher and administration themselves. 

This incident in Lancaster, Texas is only one more case of discrimination and racism against Latinos that we’ve seen in the news lately. 

According to a report by the Associated Press published after the mass shooting in El Paso, extremism experts believe that President Donald Trump’s use of language like “invasion of illegals” — words that were also echoed in the manifesto by the El Paso shooting gunman, is no accident. “They say historical data suggests a link between heated rhetoric from top political leaders and ensuing reports of hate crimes, only adding to the fears of those who could be targeted,” writes Michael Kunzelman and Astrid Galvan of AP. 

Statistics released by the FBI last year showed that hate crimes in the U.S. increased by 17% in 2017 compared to the previous year. This marked the third consecutive year of an increase in hate crimes. “There were 7,175 hate crime incidents in 2017, and of the crimes motivated by hatred over race or ethnicity, nearly half involved African-Americans and 11% were anti-Hispanic,” the AP reports.

It’s needless to say that we’re aware that these discriminations and hatred against black and brown communities have long been in place before men like Donald Trump have taken office. 

But, what data suggests here and what we keep yelling from the rooftops, is that while racism has existed long before this bigot has been in office — his administration has done nothing to dismantle that. In fact, all they’ve done is continue to feed the vicious cycle of racism and discrimination against communities of color. 

As a result of a racist president that has no respect for communities of color — in any way, shape, or form, other folks find it easier to say racist things and feel even more entitled to act on those thoughts without thinking of the consequences. 

In a statement from the district, Lancaster ISD said it did not support “nor tolerate behavior that promotes division.”

“Our district takes pride in being an inclusive district that puts students first regardless of their background. It is our goal to ensure a quality education for all students and a safe learning environment,” the statement continued.

However, it looks like “safe” is far from how the teen student feels. 

According to CBS 11, he refused to be identified for fear of retaliation against his family. His mother also told the publication, “you’re basically scaring him. Now, he thinks I’m going to get deported. Now, he thinks he might get deported.”

No student or young kid should feel this way especially inflicted by an adult that’s supposed to someone they trust. 

According to CBS 11, a school board meeting was organized in response to the incident in order to plan for a more effective way to handle future incidents like this. A spokesperson for the school district confirmed that the Lancaster ISD school employee accused of threatening the teen with deportation was no longer employed there.  According to Yahoo Lifestylethe mother of the teen boy said that two other families had also said the same teacher made other deportation threats. 

NBC Latina Correspondent Mariana Atencio Says She Was Told Not To Dress ‘Too Latina’ And More Like ‘Ivanka Trump’ And That’s Not Okay

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NBC Latina Correspondent Mariana Atencio Says She Was Told Not To Dress ‘Too Latina’ And More Like ‘Ivanka Trump’ And That’s Not Okay

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Latina women struggle with workplace equality, imposter syndrome and feeling as if we don’t belong in certain institutions, and we’re also constantly told to shrink ourselves in order to not make others (read: white people) uncomfortable with our Latinidad. Another policing of our identities and how we navigate the workplace and the world is when others tell us what to wear or not wear. 

None of this is okay and Latina women deserve more respect and freedom to be our unapologetic selves.

NBC/MSNBC correspondent Mariana Atencio wrote in her new book that an unnamed female manager told her not to dress “too Latina” for the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2017.

According to Newsweek, the manager told Atencio that she should dress more like Ivanka Trump. In her new book, Perfectly You: Embracing the Power of Being Real, Atencio writes about how happy she was to represent the Latinx community and how proud she was to have a seat at the table, “literally and figuratively.” 

She also writes about the encounter she had with the unnamed female manager who gave her a call before the White House Correspondents Dinner and asked what she planned to wear to the dinner. 

“It was a weird phone call—with an even weirder request,” Atencio writes. ” ‘Why do you ask?’ I replied. ‘Please don’t look too Latina.’ At first, I thought I didn’t hear correctly. ‘I beg your pardon?’ I asked. ‘When you pick your outfit, I mean. Don’t look too Latina.'”

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“I felt offended. Outrage and indignation hit me at once… This person was making me feel smaller and smaller with each word. Can you imagine someone in your field asking you to please not look so African American? Or Asian? Or white? Don’t look so Muslim or Christian? How do you change who you are?,” Atencio wrote. 

However, according to Atencio—the manager didn’t stop there with her unsolicited fashion advice. She went on to advise Atencio to go to Saks Fifth Avenue “and have someone help you out.” The female manager told Atencio, “‘Have them pick out something demure. Not too colorful or tight. Think Ivanka Trump, OK?'”

First of all, how do you dress “too Latina”? If that’s the case, should we stoop to the same level and say, “Ivanka, can you dress a little less like the complicit daughter of a racist commander in chief”?

According to a statement given to USA Today, MSNBC called the manager’s comments “highly inappropriate and unacceptable. More than a year and a half later, when it was first brought to a manager’s attention, immediate action was taken. Since this is an HR matter and there are privacy concerns, we won’t go into greater detail.”

In an interview with NBC News, the award-winning Venezuelan correspondent spoke about the incident and shared more lessons of inclusivity and diversity as well as what she hopes the book will achieve. The Latina immigrant journalist and author began her career in Venezuela and talked about what it was like being one of the first Latina journalists on air when she first began her career. 

“When I first started, it was more of, ‘How can we tone this down?’ But with time it was realizing that in fact, I had to be more myself,” Atencio said. 

She goes on to say that she wanted to include the anecdote in her memoir not to focus on the negative but to remind readers that “these things still happen. We have to call them out and have conversations as adults about how to get past them.”

People on social media shared their own experiences about going through something similar to what Atencio went through. 

Daisy Fuentes tweeted that she could relate and that it’s “time to end the racist stereotypes.” 

Another journalist said he’s heard this countless times from Latina coworkers in the media industry.

We’re glad men in the industry are also bringing to light this discriminatory and dangerous stereotype against Latina women and the Latinx community in general. 

Latinx film critic Yolanda Machado also shared that she’s been told to not “go all Latina” in reference to getting upset over something in the workplace.

“Most of these are followed by ‘I don’t see color, but…’ or ‘I don’t mean you, of course, but…'” she tweeted. “Racist. Racist. RACIST.” 

We applaud Mariana Atencio for including this in her memoir in order to work toward a future where Latina women in the workplace don’t have to undergo this type of behavior from others. 

“The message of my book is that you, too (readers) can make it. By sharing my journey, I hope to inspire (others) on their journey,” Atencio said of her memoir.