Texas Teachers Pass Out ‘Ghetto Awards’ To Belittle Special Ed Students (VIDEO/IMAGE)

Usually at the end of the school year, teachers and administrators will put together awards for achievements students have earned throughout the year. This is usually a joyous time where both students and teachers alike can reflect on all their experiences and things that they have learned.

However, at Sulphur Springs Middle School in Sulphur Springs, Texas, a few students got awards that were anything but congratulatory. Two teachers decided to give out the “Ghetto Classroom Awards,” and, to make matters worse, the awards were given to some special education students. To make matters even worse than that — this was the “8th Annual Ghetto Classroom Awards.” This nonsense has been going on for nearly a decade.

The two teachers listed on the award are Stephanie (Mrs.) Garner and Tim (Mr.) Couch, and then they apparently signed the awards alongside the principal. However the principal has said that they had no idea the “awards” were being given and did not, in fact, sign them.

One of the awards, the “Huh?” award, was given to an 8th grade student, because he apparently said, “Huh?” a lot during class. The student’s grandmother, Debra Jose, said:

“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?”


“Huh?” award (via Fox4News)

The boy’s mom, Jerrika Wilson, explained how her son was extremely hurt by the certificate. She said:

“He feels pretty inferior. You know, he want to succeed. You know, it just kind of hurt his feelings.”

Teacher Tim Couch has apologized. He is also a pastor at a nearby church. The other teacher, Stephanie Garner offered to resign, but nobody really sees that as necessary.

The family accepts their apology, but the Superintendent of Schools for Sulphur Springs does not seem impressed whatsoever, saying:

“Truly, it goes in layers… 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.”

And that’s just it, the award not only used the derogatory word “Ghetto,” but it was given to a student with learning disabilities, and it was called the “Huh?” award… and this has been happening for eight years.

The student’s grandmother brought up a very good point surrounding the word “ghetto”:

“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.”

The family and the teachers may have sorted through their issues with such an award, but the question still remains — what kind of people are they hiring to teach students at this school?

Those who teach children should never be so negative and condescending towards those that they teach. This belittling is bullying — plain and simple, and in a public shaming fashion. Hopefully parents and administrators don’t just let this go and take steps towards making sure this never happens again in the future.

CBS46 News
Video via CBS46/Featured image via Fox4News