ORLANDO, Fla. — An English Language Arts teacher at Lake Nona Middle School left their job after the school opened multiple investigations after complaints about presentations made by students in class on Wednesday.
A 51-second clip of the presentation sent to WFTV by a parent showed a boy standing in front of a rowdy classroom speaking about Mexican immigrants.
“They’re border hoppers,” he said, adding that the immigrants had to earn their rights. “They’re taking over Florida.”
His classmates appeared equally shocked and amused, with one remarking on the color of Mexicans’ skin.
“They all have the same skin color, a little mixed or whatever,” the male classmate said.
Until the district announced the teacher’s resignation, it wasn’t clear any employees were even in the room. Nor was it clear what the overall presentation topic was about, how long the presentation was or if the teacher made any attempts to stop it after the clip ended.
The parent who sent the video said their student had the same assignment, which was to give a presentation about a topic of their choice.
Jose Diaz, who is of Mexican heritage, said his son was also in the class and that several students made inappropriate presentations on topics like “Why I don’t like Black people” and “Why I don’t like Mexican people.”
Diaz said he was the third parent to complain to administrators on Thursday.
“I just hope that they take this and maybe make it into a learning moment and talk to people about the fact that, you know, it’s inappropriate to talk like this, especially in a school environment,” Diaz said.
The district has threatened severe punishments for the behavior seen in the video, based on the outcome of their investigation and the content of witness statements staff said they finished collecting on Friday.
“Any discipline will handled according to the Code of Student Conduct,” the district said in a statement and a recording texted to parents.
The teacher’s resignation happened amid an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, a spokesman said.
The presentation was given as tensions rise over the end of Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that helped the U.S. keep many migrants in Mexico while their cases were being worked through the court system. Normally, the migrants are allowed to stay in the U.S. during that time.
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