An Upstate New York school district has come under fire over a homework assignment asking middle schoolers to translate the phrase ‘You are Mexican and ugly’ into Spanish.
Administrators at Williamsville Central School District, the largest suburban school district in Western New York, ultimately issued an apology to sixth graders at Mill Middle School in Buffalo after they were handed an assignment which required them to translate sentences from English into Spanish, according to CNN.
‘You (friendly) are Mexican and ugly,’ one of the sentences on the worksheet read.
‘You (politely) are pretty and American,’ another within the same assignment read.
Parents of students took to social media to hold the administrators responsible while expressing their horror over the offensive sentences.
‘Shocked at this Spanish homework assignment in Williamsville Central School District loaded with such blatant racism,’ Allison Wainick, a school district parent, said on Twitter.
‘Can we even begin to unpack all that is wrong here? Who is developing this curriculum & where is the oversight?’
‘You (friendly) are Mexican and ugly,’ one of the sentences on the worksheet, pictured, read. ‘You (politely) are pretty and American,’ another within the same assignment read
‘Shocked at this Spanish homework assignment in Williamsville Central School District loaded with such blatant racism,’ Allison Wainick, pictured, a school district parent, said on Twitter
Williamsville Central School District, pictured, the largest suburban school district in Western New York
‘As a Latina whose children attend Mill and Williamsville I am in complete shock,’ one mother wrote.
‘This is completely unacceptable,’ another Hispanic mother said while she criticized the assignment.
‘There must be serious consequences. An apology from the district is not enough, this is not something that children can forget.’
Meanwhile, administrators within the school district released a statement shortly after the online backlash, and offered an apology for the offensive assignment.
‘We are addressing the situation to ensure this does not happen again. The District does not condone any instructional material that denigrates our students, families, culture, or beliefs,’ the statement read.
The school official did not name the teacher who assigned the homework, or say whether they will face any specific punishment.
Williamsville Central School District, pictured, where administrators were forced to apologize for an offensive Spanish assignment for a sixth grade class
‘This assignment fails to meet our standard and will be dealt with appropriately.’
CNN reported that school officials within the district had received numerous complaints over the years regarding potentially racist or offensive behavior by teachers.
However, nothing has been done about it, according to social media comments from parents’ of students in the district or those who attended Mill Middle School themselves, and who claim the same homework was previously handed out to other year groups.
‘Wow. I complained about this assignment at Casey middle…3 years ago,’ one comment read.
‘Nothing was done.’
Another person questioned the judgment of the unidentified Spanish teacher who gave the assignment, who had ‘several issues’ with a particular teacher in recent years.
‘I had several issues with a specific Spanish teacher at Mill Middle over the years,’ one person commented on a post about the homework in a community Facebook group for parents and teachers in the school district.
‘Many calls were made and unfortunately fell on mostly deaf ears (with the exception of one amazing guidance counselor that has since retired).’
Meanwhile, district and officials at Mill Middle School have yet to respond to requests for comment beyond their publicly issued statement.