SOCORRO, Texas -- A Latino civil rights organization on Friday called on state and local education officials to ban a Socorro High School substitute teacher who recently told a male Hispanic student: “Speak English, we’re in America.” As ABC-7 first reported, the incident was caught on video.
The League of United Latin American Citizens - or LULAC - made the request of the Texas Education Agency, the branch of the state government responsible for public education, and the Socorro Independent School District.
“The substitute teacher caught on camera telling a student to ‘Speak English’ must be permanently banned from instructing students effective immediately. Teachers and all school staff are meant to be leaders and mentors to our children – not racists who harbor anti-immigrant sentiments,” said Domingo Garcia, LULAC National President, in a statement.
“From 1918 until the Texas Bilingual Act in 1969, Texas laws banned Spanish in public schools and many of us remember personally that this was enforced with humiliating corporal punishment in schools," Garcia continued. "It is abominable that this institutionalized racism against the Hispanic community in Texas hasn’t ended.”
“The days when a Hispanic student’s mouth would get washed with soap for speaking Spanish are long gone,” added Mary Yañez, LULAC's El Paso district director, in a statement. “We ask the Socorro Independent School District to investigate this matter and if racial comments were made by the teacher, she should be banned from teaching.”
As ABC-7 has reported, SISD has previously said, " The incident in the video is being investigated. Appropriate action, per our employee code of conduct policies, will be taken."