A New York school district has apologized for a college Spanish assignment that some parents say is racist

Sixth-grade students at Mill Middle School in the Williamsville Central School District received an assignment, obtained by CNN, for their Spanish class in which they had to translate sentences from English to Spanish.

One of the sentences read, “You (friend) are Mexican and ugly,” while another in the same worksheet read, “You (politely) are pretty and American.”

“Shocked by this Spanish assignment in the Williamsville Central School District laden with such blatant racism,” Allison Wainick, a school district parent, said on Twitter. “Can we even start unpacking everything that’s wrong here?” Who is developing this program and where is the oversight?

“We are addressing this situation to ensure this does not happen again. The district does not tolerate any educational materials that disparage our students, families, culture, or beliefs,” the statement said. “This assignment does not meet our standards and will be handled appropriately.”

The Williamsville Central School District is located on the outskirts of Buffalo in upstate New York.

CNN was unable to confirm the identity of the teacher or the potential consequences the person could face. Nick Filipowski, the school district’s director of communications, told CNN they would not comment on this incident beyond the statement they released.

“I am extremely disappointed in Mill Middle for allowing disgusting and inexcusable language like this to be presented in class,” Wainick’s husband, Marcelo Florencio, told The Buffalo News. “I believe there is no place for that in school or in our children’s lives.”

“I personally don’t think this Spanish teacher – or anyone who endorses this type of program content – has a place in WCSD or anywhere else,” Florencio said, adding that the assignment showed a “gross lack of ethnic sensitivity.” . and bias.”

Several other parents expressed concern in posts on the school district’s Facebook page.

“As a Latina whose children attend Mill and Williamsville, I am completely in shock,” one mother wrote.

Another Hispanic mother criticized the posting.

“It’s completely unacceptable,” she said. “There must be serious consequences. The district’s apology isn’t enough, it’s not something the kids can forget.”

Complaints ignored by school district parents

School officials have received complaints about potentially racist or offensive behavior from teachers for several years but have been met with silence, according to social media comments from people who call themselves parents of students of the district or went themselves to Mill Middle.

“Wow. Complained about this assignment at Casey Middle…3 years ago,” one comment read. “Nothing was done.”

Another comment slammed an anonymous middle school Spanish teacher where homework was given to students.

“I’ve had several issues with a specific Spanish teacher at Mill Middle over the years,” one person commented on a post about homework in a Facebook community group for parents and teachers in the district. “Many calls have been made and unfortunately have fallen on deaf ears (with the exception of one amazing guidance counselor who has since retired).”
Weinick herself noted on Twitter that she tried to contact school officials last month about the controversial assignment, but did not receive a response until her husband threatened to escalate the issue.

“Principal didn’t respond to me as of December 21,” she said in the tweet, which was posted on January 10. .”

CNN contacted several parents at the school, some of whom publicly expressed outrage at the mission, but all declined to comment.

District and Mill Middle School officials have so far not responded to CNN’s request for comment on the veracity of the allegations, citing only their publicly released statement.

“I just know that all the Latino families in the school district are very offended,” Meny Marquez, a Mexican parent whose two children attend South High School, one of 13 schools in Williamsville Central, told CNN.

Although his children do not attend the same middle school where the homework was assigned, Marquez said he thinks the teacher should be disciplined.

“This teacher should be suspended or corrected in some way. This only promotes racism among students and I don’t want this for my two Mexican-American children,” he said.

CNN’s Ana Melgar-Zuniga and Mirna Alsharif contributed to this report.

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