Newser- Coming home with an award from school is one thing—bringing home a "ghetto classroom award" signed by your teacher is quite another. "Tears just started falling out of my eyes," Texas resident Debra Jose tells CBS DFW of her grandson's dubious honor. "I was like, 'What did they just do to him again?' I just lay in bed and thought about it all night long." Officially labeled "8th Annual Ghetto Classroom Awards," the certificates were handed out in a class of learning-challenged students at Sulphur Springs Middle School in Sulphur Springs, Texas. They bear signatures over the names of two teachers in the class and "SSMS Principal," but Superintendent Michael Lamb says it's news to him: "Shocked," he says. "Shocked. Truly, it goes in layers."
The school is investigating after the award was posted on Facebook and "other parents didn't 'get the joke' either," WGCL Atlanta reports. Lamb says one of the faculty members named on the award, second-year teacher Mrs. Garner, handed out such awards "for six years in a prior district. It went unnoticed." The teacher had been a special-ed teacher in the Carrollton Farmers-Branch school district in Carrollton, Texas, which serves the Dallas area. Lamb says Garner also gave such awards to as many as 60 kids last year at her current school. So what's the point? "It’s like you’re putting them in a 'place,'" says Jose. "If [the teacher] knew what ghetto meant, she would have never approached that, because, being an African-American, we were always thrown that."
I will say that I don't know much about Sulphur Springs, Texas. I am not exactly an expert on the demographics and dynamics of this small, southern town. However, If had to guess it's probably a rougher area. For lack of a better term, it's probably a little bit 'hood'. I feel comfortable assuming that because this seems like a classic case of 'Parents Just Don't Understand'. How else do you get to the 8TH ANNUAL ghetto awards without upsetting students? Clearly they are taking pride in their accomplishments. It's supposed to be an unspoken agreement that you don't go home and hang the shit on the fridge. Way to ruin it for everybody kid. How else are they supposed to establish a playground pecking order? No one is messing with the winner of the 'Ghetto Award' three years running. If being ghetto was something that couldn't be viewed in a positive way then the golden era of 90's hip hop wouldn't have existed.
This is an indictment of the monotony of a classroom just as much as some case of racial insensitivity. Every kid has ADHD these days. How else do you keep your students focused? You almost have to institute a way for them to earn street cred during school hours. Hopefully that will get them to pay attention long enough to accidentally learn some algebra. Sure, the word 'ghetto' has a much deeper and darker meaning than it's intended use in this situation, but middle schoolers don't think big picture. Every rap video they have ever seen has glorified the use of word. If 'ghetto' wasn't synonymous with 'popular' during your teenage years than I wasted way too much money on velour track suits. I'm sure this teacher knows what he's doing isn't the most politically correct thing in the world, but at least he's found a way to relate to his students.
P.S. The biggest tragedy is that it's not called the 'Make 'Em Say Uhhhh' Award. Master P's career just rolled over in its grave.