Awards season for students is usually a joyous occasion, but one Texas family was livid to find that their son received something called a “Ghetto Classroom Award.”
Two teachers known as Mrs. Garner and Mr. Couch handed out certifies to a 14-year-old and a few other eighth graders at Sulphur Springs Middle School, according to MSN. The certificate read, “The 8th Annual Ghetto Classroom Awards,” insinuating that the less-than-funny comical gag has been going on for years.
As it turns out, Mrs. Garner, who taught special education students in the Carrollton Farmers-Branch school district in Carrollton, Texas, gave out the award at her previous school for years without anyone noticing.
The certificate was signed by the teachers, with the school principal’s signature being forged.
“I had to take a second look. I was like, really? How could a teacher put this on there?” the eighth grader’s grandmother Debra Jose said. “Did she just say ghetto on a certificate that she was giving my grandson?”
Sulphur Springs Superintendent Michael Lamb says the principal was shocked to hear about the awards. Further investigation revealed the “The ‘Huh’ Award” was presented to around 50 students over the years. The certificate is given to those who use the word to show their confusion in the classroom.
A statement was released on behalf of the principal and the school:
“SSISD wants to apologize to anyone that was offended by this action,” the statement said.
The 14-year-old student’s mother Jerrika Wilkins said the teen is upset over the award, which made him feel inferior in comparison to his classmates. Other parents say the use of the word “ghetto” was just as hurtful because of the negative connotation it presents to the African-American community.