A Houston-area teacher has been fired after a poor joke at the expense of one of her students went viral.
In May, a teacher at a Channelview middle school gave a 13-year-old student a mock award declaring her “most likely to become a terrorist.” That teacher has now been fired, according to a statement put out Tuesday by Channelview Independent School District.
“We have concluded our investigation [into the incident] and the teacher responsible is no longer employed by the district," the short statement reads in its entirety.
Channelview ISD didn't give an exact date for the teacher’s dismissal. “The release I sent is our official statement,” Marcus Kramer, a spokesman for the district, said in an emailed response to inquiries from the Houston Press. The district also failed to name the teacher, who worked at Anthony Aguirre Junior High School. However, a photo of the mock award shows that it was signed by an “S. Lockett.”
Various outlets gave the teacher’s full name as Stacy Lockett. A online registry of Channelview ISD teachers confirms Lockett was recently employed as a teacher.
She's been listed as a Channelview ISD teacher since at least 2012, according to copies of the registry kept by the Internet Archive. While other pages in the registry offer room numbers and classroom photos, the current version of Lockett’s page is conspicuously blank.
Mock awards are a cherished part of the public school experience. But the superlatives doled out to students are usually nicer — or at least don’t reference terrorism. Lizeth Villanueva, the seventh-grader who received the award, told KHOU that her teacher was “laughing” as she handed Villanueva the certificate.
“She said that some people might get offended, but she doesn’t really care about our feelings,” Villanueva told the station. After Villanueva’s family complained to reporters, the incident went viral.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The backlash prompted a statement from Channelview. “[We] would like to apologize for the insensitive and offensive fake mock awards that were given to students in a classroom,” that statement, released in May, reads. “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.
Villanueva was not the only one to receive a hurtful mock award. One of her classmates was deemed “most likely to become homeless in Guatemala,” Villanueva told KPRC.
Meanwhile, another parent shared a photo of her daughter, seventh grader Sydney Caesar, holding the award she’d won. Caesar, who is black, was declared “most likely to blend in with white people.”
That award was also signed by Lockett — who has surely earned the superlative "least likely to be employed as a teacher again."