Things That Matter

A Latino Student Was Told To ‘Speak English’ By A Substitute Teacher And Now The Video Is Going Viral

A Soccoro, Texas high school teacher is now under investigation following an incident where she told a Latinx student to “Speak English, we’re in America.” The moment was captured on camera, according to KVIA. The teacher, who was a substitute, even called security on the teenager who was identified as Carlos Cobian. 

This is the second recorded scandal at Soccoro High School. Last week, a teacher was caught on camera slapping a female student on the butt. He was subsequently put on paid administrative leave as the district investigates. 

Recordings of racist incidents against Latinxs have made headlines since the Trump administration began to double down on harmful rhetoric about Latinxs and immigrants. Meanwhile, the number of anti-Latinx hate crimes soared in 2018 according to the FBI. This is just one new example of how the President’s rhetoric hurts Latinxs. 

KVIA spoke with Cobian who explained what went down.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?ref=external&v=1381997688636949

Cobian says he entered the classroom while watching a football game of Argentina playing Uruguay on his phone. According to him and what can be seen in the video, other students were also on the phone but the teacher singled him out. The substitute came over to Cobian and tried to take his phone from him. 

“I saw that she was gonna get it so I got it too and I told her ‘no why, no porque?’ and that’s when she said talk English, we’re in America,” Cobian said.

Students at the Socorro Independent School District are allowed to have phones on campus for school use, however it does require permission from a teacher. According to the district’s code of conduct, “When students are not using the devices for approved instructional purposes, all devices must be turned off during the instructional day. Violations may result in withdrawal of privileges and other disciplinary action.” 

Cobian still doesn’t know why she singled him out, but her response left him feeling understandably angry.

“I was shocked, and then I got a little mad,” he said. “For her to come to teach at Socorro, being a sub, like 90% of the students here are Mexicans and Latinos.”

The teacher accused Cobian of pushing her. The video showed he never even tried.

Things escalated when the teacher called security on Cobian. She even said he tried to push her. Security removed him from class to question him, but when he began to explain the picture became clearer. 

“I thought it was a little racist because you know, we live on the border and it’s all Mexican, Latinos,” Cobian told WIVB. 

Fortunately, some of his peers were recording everything when it was happening. The recordings would clear Cobian’s name.

“She actually tried to say that I pushed her, but I didn’t and some of the videos come out that I didn’t really push her,” he said. 

Cobian said that when the security guards watched the video they seemed to believe him. He did not receive any disciplinary action from the school. 

“The incident in the video is being investigated. Appropriate action, per our employee code of conduct policies, will be taken,” a spokesperson for the school district told KVIA. 

League of United Latin American Citizens issued a statement calling for the substitute teacher’s banning. 

“The substitute teacher caught on camera telling a student to ‘Speak English’ must be permanently banned from instructing students effective immediately. Teachers and all school staff are meant to be leaders and mentors to our children – not racists who harbor anti-immigrant sentiments,” said Domingo Garcia, national president of LULAC. 

Garcia noted that for nearly 50 years, Spanish was banned in public schools in Texas — the state that used to be a part of Mexico — making the teacher’s comments all the more egregious. According to the Texas Star-Telegram, legislators banned Spanish under the premise that it prevented students from embracing American culture and English. However, statistics from 1967 showed that 89 percent of Latinxs essentially dropped out of school because of the rule.

“From 1918 until the Texas Bilingual Act in 1969, Texas laws banned Spanish in public schools and many of us remember personally that this was enforced with humiliating corporal punishment in schools. It is abominable that this institutionalized racism against the Hispanic community in Texas hasn’t ended,” Garcia said. 

Students who spoke Spanish when it was banned received humiliating punishments — it’s no wonder they would drop out. 

“The days when a Hispanic student’s mouth would get washed with soap for speaking Spanish are long gone,” said Mary Yañez, El Paso district director of LULAC. “We ask the Socorro Independent School District to investigate this matter and if racial comments were made by the teacher, she should be banned from teaching.”

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Texas High Schoolers Conducted a Mock ‘Slave Auction’ Of Black Students Over Snapchat

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Texas High Schoolers Conducted a Mock ‘Slave Auction’ Of Black Students Over Snapchat

Photo via Getty Images

Students at a high school in Aledo, Texas are being disciplined after the administration discovered they held a mock slave auction on Snapchat where they “traded” Black students.

Screenshots of the Snapchat group show that these unnamed students “bid” on students of color, ranging anywhere from $1 to $100.

One student in particular was priced at $1 because his hair was “bad”. The screenshot also shows that the group chat’s name changed regularly. The group’s name started as “Slave Trade” then changed to “N—-r Farm”, and finally to “N—– Auction”.

Upon learning of the mock slave auction, the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus’s principal wrote a note to parents explaining the situation. Principal Carolyn Ansley called the mock slave auction “an incident of cyberbullying and harassment” which “led to conversations about how inappropriate and hurtful language can have a profound and lasting impact” on people.

Many people felt that the school principal downplayed the gravity of the mock slave auction. Not once did she mention the word racism in the letter that she sent out to parents.

“Calling it cyberbullying rather than calling it racism… that is the piece that really gets under my skin,” said Mark Grubbs, father to three former Aledo ISD students, to NBC DFW. But Grubbs, along with many other Aledo parents and community members, say that the incident didn’t surprise them.

In fact, Grubbs said he had to take his children out of the Aledo ISD school system because of how much racist harassment his children were facing. “A lot of racism,” he said of his son’s experience at the school. “My son being called out of his name and what not and it got to the point he didn’t mind fighting and that didn’t sit right with me and my wife. My son was never a fighter.”

After the backlash to the initial statement, Superintendent Susan Bohn finally released a statement condemning the racism and “hatred” of the mock slave auction.

“There is no room for racism or hatred in the Aledo ISD, period,’ Bohn wrote. “Using inappropriate, offensive and racially charged language and conduct is completely unacceptable and is prohibited by district policy.”

The problem with “policies” like these is they fail to target the issue of racism at the root. Hate speech may be “prohibited”, but if a child is displaying racist behavior for whatever reason, the bigger problem is the way that they have been educated and indoctrinated. Slave auctions have no place in 2021.

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Texas Republicans Are Recruiting An ‘Army’ of Poll-Watchers To Go Into Black and Brown Precincts To ‘Fight Voter Fraud’

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Texas Republicans Are Recruiting An ‘Army’ of Poll-Watchers To Go Into Black and Brown Precincts To ‘Fight Voter Fraud’

Photo via Getty Images

The GOP’S voter-suppression tactics in Georgia have been gripping the nation. But now, the media is also turning its attention to other voter-suppression tactics in the rest of the country. Now, Texas Republicans are taking the heat.

According to Common Cause Texas, Texas Republicans are planning on recruiting thousands of volunteers create an “election integrity brigade”. They want the “brigade” to go into Black and brown neighborhoods in Houston and “fight voter fraud”.

A Texas GOP presentation was leaked that outlined plans to send an “army” of poll-watchers to Black and brown precincts.

“I’m trying to encourage and recruit, as a precinct chair, about 30 people in my precinct who will have the confidence and courage to come down in here…,” said an unnamed GOP official, pointing to majority non-white urban areas, “…in these areas where we really need poll-workers. Because this is where the problem is occuring.”

“So me finding poll-watchers out here, it helps, but it’s a pretty safe precinct”. He said this while pointing to majority-white Houston neighborhoods.

The video inspired outrage among people who saw these tactics as blatant attempts to suppress the voting rights of POC.

“The impetus for releasing [the video] right now is there are some bills in the legislature that seek to empower poll watchers in some really scary ways,” said executive director of Common Cause Texas, Anthony Gutierrez, to NBC News. “And also at the same time, take away the power of the presiding judge at the poll site from being able to remove a disruptive poll watcher.”

“It’s very clear that we’re talking about recruiting people from the predominantly Anglo parts of town to go to Black and Brown neighborhoods,” said Gutierrez to The Washington Post.

“This is a role that’s supposed to do nothing but stand at a poll site and observe,” he added. Why is he suggesting someone needs to be ‘courageous’?”

This “election integrity brigade” comes on the heels of a problematic election bill the Texas Senate just passed.

According to NBC News, the bill “bans overnight early voting and drive-thru early voting” and also “empowers partisan poll watchers.”

“It’s part of the intimidation, the confusion, the antics that (the Republican Party) has engaged in for so many generations that culminated in President Trump asking people to overturn the election,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to CNN.

“What they’re doing is filing bills that are essentially a poll tax that weaponize the election system against our own voters,” she continued. “And what they’re proposing is absolutely tragic and reminiscent of the worst of what we’ve seen in Texas and across the South since Reconstruction.”

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