Texas Teachers Give ‘Ghetto Classroom Awards’ To Students

Two middle school teachers in Sulphur Springs, Texas handed out certificates to students as part of the “8th Annual Ghetto Classroom Awards,” television station KLTV reported on Thursday.

The certificates, for things such as “The ‘huh?’ Award,” were reportedly handed out Wednesday by two teachers at Sulphur Springs Middle School who were identified by television station KDFW as Stephanie Garner and Tim Couch.

KDFW reported that the students in the eighth-grade class are part of the school’s special education program.

On Thursday, the school’s principal, assistant principal and the two teachers who distributed the awards held a two-hour meeting with the families of the students involved, according to KDFW.

One of the families at the meeting told the station that Couch, one of the teachers on the certificates, apologized. Couch is a pastor in Sumner, Texas, KDFW reported.

The other teacher, Garner, reportedly offered to resign.

KDFW did not report whether Garner’s offer to resign was accepted by the district.

Sulphur Springs Superintendent Michael Lamb learned about the awards after upset parents and family members posted the certificates to social media, according to KLTV.

“Shocked. Shocked. Truly, it goes in layers,” Lamb told KLTV of his initial reaction. “You kind of ask yourself, had anything else been used, the ‘teacher’s name’ award, would it start to seem more acceptable. The ‘huh?’ award just begs questions. And then the 8th annual brings questions too.”

Lamb told the station that Garner, in her second year at the middle school, likely also presented the awards in another district, which would explain the “8th Annual” label.

While the principal’s name appeared on the certificate, Lamb told KLTV that the principal did not sign the awards and was unaware of their existence and distribution.

KDFW reported that the families were told the awards were supposed to be a joke and weren’t meant to be racist. However, the awards weren’t seen as a joke by the families of the students involved.

The school is still investigating the situation, according to KDFW.

h/t Raw Story

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ahiza Garcia is a newswriter based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Ahiza interned and freelanced for Nightline, Fox Sports, and ESPN the Magazine. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and an M.S. in digital journalism from Syracuse University. She can be reached at ahiza@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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