Students at Sulphur Springs Middle School in Texas were given awards that parents did not find quite as humorous as the two teachers passing them out. Two teachers, Stephanie Garner and Thomas Couch, had signed the certificates which were handed out to students. However, parents say the awards are offensive as they were called the “Ghetto Classroom Awards.” One grandparent pointed out that had the teachers really understood what ghetto meant, they probably wouldn’t have put it on a certificate and sent it home with a child.
KLTV reports that a student at Sulphur Springs Middle School came home with an award that his grandmother did not find amusing. The child received the “Huh?” award which was part of the teacher’s “Ghetto Classroom Awards” series. The student’s grandmother, Debra Jose, says she had to take a second look at the award because she couldn’t believe what she was reading.
“I had to take a second look. I was like, really? How could a teacher put this on there?…Did she just say ghetto on a certificate that she was giving my grandson?”
Jose says that she grew up during times of segregation that the term ghetto to describe those segregated. She says that if the teachers truly knew what the term represented she hopes they would have reconsidered putting them on student certificates.
“Back in the day, when I was growing up, they segregated us. They put us in a part where they said we were ‘ghetto.’ If she knew what ghetto meant, she would have never approached that, because, being an African-American, we were always thrown that.”
According to CBS DFW, the “Ghetto Classroom Awards” have been happening for the past eight years and many parents are asking how it could have continued for so long. The SSMS superintendent Michael Lamb says that the awards are “not acceptable” and that the school will addressing them.
“It is not something SSISD is proud of. It is not acceptable. It is not anything we want to be a part of… and we are addressing it today.”
He also claims that the awards were passed out in a different district when the teacher responsible for the awards worked as a special education teacher. The teacher, however, claims that the concept for the awards was brought to her by another school district in Dallas. Now school officials are looking into those claims to see if the “Ghetto Classroom Awards” are happening in other Dallas school districts.
Similarly, another school is under fire for what students and teachers are calling a “sexist” letter sent home to female students about awards ceremony dress code.
[Image Credit: CBS DFW]