Education

Calif. Teacher Rips Student for Wearing Mexico Shirt During World Cup

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

In another case of a teacher using questionable judgment, a California educator yelled at a student for wearing a shirt with the colors of Mexico during the World Cup. The teacher had to apologize, and there are calls for an investigation and disciplinary action.

American-born Coral Avilez, 12, wore her Mexican shirt to Big Bear Middle School in Big Bear, Calif. on June 11 because her class was watching the Mexico-South Africa match that day. What a crazy idea by Avilez, right?  

But when the girl walked in, the teacher, whose name has not been released, saw the shirt and reacted. According to Leroy Martinez, the vice president of the local League of United Latin American Citizens who spoke with the girl and her mother, this is the exchange that took place in front of the rest of the class:

Teacher: "Do you support Mexico?"

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Coral: (Thinking she was being asked a soccer question) "Yes."

Teacher: “Then what are you doing in my country?”

Coral: “Why?”

Teacher: “Because people like you make me pay higher taxes and make my insurance rate go up."

Confused and hurt, Coral then ran out of the class crying.

When it was time to go back to school the following Monday, Coral was understandably hesitant. She asked not to go to class. Martinez said school officials gave her two options -- sit in the principal's office and read a book, or go pick up trash with the janitor. Martinez said Coral was uncomfortable in the principal's office, so she made the rounds with the janitor.

Local newspaper reports say the teacher apologized to the class. But the girl and her mother say that is not enough. Backed by local civil rights groups, they are asking that the teacher’s conduct be investigated for possible disciplinary action.

“The school has agreed, and we will meet with the superintendent this week to make sure that the investigation doesn’t drag on,” Martinez said.

Tim Larson, the school board’s director of personnel, was assigned to investigate the incident. He is apparently the only person authorized to speak on the school's behalf, and so far, he is not telling the teacher or school's side of the story.