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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Disturbing Video Shows Workers Feeding White Kids First At A Georgia Daycare

Things That Matter

Disturbing Video Shows Workers Feeding White Kids First At A Georgia Daycare

Schools and daycares are supposed to be safe spaces for kids to be able to learn and to express themselves. However, we know that isn’t always the case. For years, children have had to fear gun violence on campus, bullying, and sexual assaults.

A recent video that’s gone viral shows that even younger kids aren’t safe from trauma, as a daycare in Georgia is being accused of blatant racism against its Black kids.

Young kids are experiencing hate and racism even at places meant to be safe for them.

The Kids ‘R’ Kids daycare center in Roswell, on the outskirts of Atlanta, has been accused of racism after a father checked in to the live feed at lunch time to see how his two-year-old son was doing and noticed that the white children were all fed first while the Black children were made to wait.

Adryan McCauley told CBS46: “They were skipping all of the Black kids it seemed like. All the white kids got their lunch, and all the Black kids had to wait. From the videos and pictures that we saw today, we are just completely disturbed.”

McCauley took a screenshot which he posted to Instagram, but the full video has not been released. He added that the boy’s mother asked the nursery what had happened and was reportedly told by the director: “I’m not really sure because I’m not in the classroom, maybe it’s a dietary thing.”

One of the families was sure to share what happened with the public.

According to the Daily Mail, the family of the 2-year-old posted the screenshot to Instagram, where it went viral.

“This is truly unbelievable. You better know this won’t be the last time you hear from me on this,” user @marquis_dagreat wrote, along with the screenshot. “Why does every white kid have their food? Not one black child has food in front of them! Thank God for cameras in classrooms because there is no way to hide this racism!”

“In the year 2021 this is truly unbelievable. As blacks we always strive to send our kids to schools in Suburban area’s [sic], but I’m telling you first hand that is not always best,” they continued. “This is not a black or white issue this is simply wrong!”

The brand behind the daycare has cut ties with the Georgia location.

The corporate office responded on Thursday by calling the screenshot “disturbing” and cutting ties with the location in question. 

“Our company has decided to terminate that franchisee’s Kids ‘R’ Kids contract and branding, effective immediately, leaving them to operate independently,” President and CEO David Vinson said in the statement, posted to Instagram. “We apologize to the family, the community and all of those impacted by this situation and will use this as a learning tool to remind our Kids ‘R’ Kids staff on the importance of diversity and inclusivity.”

Vinson added that the corporate office will help locate alternate preschool options for families displaced by the decision. 

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This Man Raised Thousands of Dollars For His Former Teacher Who Was Left Homeless From the Pandemic

Things That Matter

This Man Raised Thousands of Dollars For His Former Teacher Who Was Left Homeless From the Pandemic

Photo via Steven Nava

At this point, it’s common knowledge that the pandemic has had a negative financial impact on many Americans. When the pandemic hit, many people lost their jobs. Some people dealt with food and housing insecurity. And this homeless teacher experienced exactly that.

But if there’s one positive thing the pandemic taught us, it’s that there are tons of amazing humans out there who are willing to lend a hand when they see a fellow human suffering.

Recently, a homeless teacher named José Villaruel, received help from a former student who discovered him sleeping in his car.

The former student’s name is Steven Nava and he ran into Villaruel, purely by coincidence. “Every morning/night I’ve always noticed this older man that would stay out in his car constantly at this parking lot near my house, even when the weather was bad,” wrote Nava on Twitter. “He looked familiar…”

Nava ended up approaching the older man. That is when he discovered that the man was him former teacher José Villaruel, whom Nava affectionately calls “Mr. V”.

“Turns out he’s gone homeless since the whole pandemic hit and he’s been struggling getting back to his feet,” wrote Nava. “His car is really old and that’s where he’s been staying for the past year.”

Apparently, the homeless teacher had only one source of income–a monthly social security check. He sent most of the money to his sick wife in Mexico.

Nava gave Mr. V $300 to get a hotel for the night. Meanwhile, he got to work to try and fix the homeless teacher’s situation more permanently. “I had a mission to help the teacher who was going through a difficult time during the pandemic,” Nava told TODAY.

José Villaruel’s former student took to Twitter to inform his followers of Mr. V’s situation and ask for additional help.

“I come to the Twitter community and ask for help in raising money to help him out,” Nava wrote. “I know if we can all pitch in even $1 it will go a long way.” Nava shared a link to a GoFundMe for Mr. V. And to his surprise, the donations began to roll in.

By the end of the fundraising period, Nava had raised over $27,000 for the homeless teacher–far surpassing his original fundraising goal of $15,000.

Donations flooded in both from Villaruel’s former students and from concerned citizens who were happy to help the older gentleman get back on his feet.

“[Mr. Villaruel] was always so sweet when I had him as a sub 🙁 Thank you so much for looking out for him I hope you reach your goal for him!!!” wrote one Twitter user.

As a final gift, Steven Nava planned a surprise party for Mr. Villaruel 77th birthday that happened to be that week.

Former students of Mr. V gathered to pay tribute to the teacher who had touched their lives years before. When Mr. V showed up, they all sang “Happy Birthday” to him. Then, Nava gifted a stunned Mr. V with a $27,000 check.

José Villaruel told media outlets that the experience touched him deeply.

“It is an experience of my life that will be kept for the rest of my life. I carry it in my heart,” he said. “I felt that something was going to happen, that things were going to change, and it happened suddenly when I least expected it.

Since then, Steven Nava has continued to fundraise for Mr. V. Altogether, he has raised over $50,000 for his former teacher–and counting. You can visit the GoFundMe page here.

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