No, your eyes are not deceiving you. These are real certificates that were typed up and presented to 7th graders at Lance Cpl. Anthony Aguirre Junior High School in Houston.
“MOST LIKELY TO BECOME A TERRORIST,” one reads, inside a border of cheerful stars. Another, given to a student in the same class, reads “MOST LIKELY TO BLEND IN WITH WHITE PEOPLE.”
Lauren Easton, whose sister received the “white people” award, told CNN there were others, including one that read “Most Likely to be Homeless in Guatemala.”
“My initial reaction was shock,” Easton said. “I couldn’t believe a teacher could be that bold.” She says her sister was initially embarrassed and just wanted everyone to “drop it.”
Lizeth Villanueva, who was bestowed the unwanted “terrorist” honor, told CNN affiliate KPRC the teacher gave out different “mock awards” to students in her advanced learning class. The teacher told them they were supposed to be funny but they “might hurt [students’] feelings.”
“It was not a joke,” Lizeth said. “I do not feel comfortable with this… I do not feel comfortable being in the same classroom with [the teacher].”
The school has not publicly identified the teacher, and CNN was unable to reach her.
The school’s administration released a statement apologizing for the event and promising an investigation.
“Aguirre Administration would like to first of all apologize for the insensitive and offensive fake mock award that were given to students…As principal, I want to assure all students, parents and community members that these ward statement and ideals are NOT representative of the Aguirre Vision, Mission, and educational goals for its students.”
According to a similar statement from the Channelview School District, “the teacher involved in this matter have been disciplined according to district policy. and the incident is still under investigation.”
Easton says this isn’t the first thing the teacher has done that has raised eyebrows. Before this incident, the teacher, who is black, gave Easton’s sister “a ‘black quiz’ to prove how black she was.”
The students who received the “awards” were enrolled in AVID, an advanced learning and college prep program.
“This is a reprehensible action of a single teacher that does not in any way reflect the AVID values, or the values of the thousands of AVID teachers across the US who impact our students daily,” AVID CEO Sandy Husk said in a statement.