A Texas teacher is fighting to keep her job after she admitted to losing her temper and telling a Hispanic student to “go back to Mexico.”
Shirley Bunn, a math teacher at a middle school in Arlington, has been on paid leave since the Sept. 30 incident at Barnett Junior High School, according to a report on myFOXdfw.com.
She was handing out forms to her eighth-grade students when one of them repeatedly asked her for a form in Spanish, by saying, “I’m Mexican. I’m Mexican.”
According to documents made public in the case, the Fox station reported that Bunn told the student he could get the form in the office but he continued to argue by repeating, “I’m Mexican.”
She then blurted out, “Go back to Mexico,” the website reported.
“It was almost instantaneous. I thought, ‘God, I don’t believe that came out of my mouth,’” she told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It was a very, very hard week, the end of six weeks. It was late in the day. It was a Friday. We were on the third day of the first curriculum assessment and I knew it wasn’t going well. It was just an extremely bad day.”
Larry Shaw, a representative from the United Educators Association, told the Fox affiliate that the district should reinstate Bunn.
“This is a wonderful excellent teacher who simply made a mistake, and the administration jumped to the worst-case scenario of termination when they didn’t have to,” he said.
Independent Hearing Examiner Jess Rickman III, in a 23-page opinion issued late Wednesday, said the district failed to provide sufficient grounds to terminate Bunn, according to the Star-Telegram’s report.
Whether she’s allowed to return will be up to the School Board, the newspaper reported.
District spokeswoman Amy Casas told the Star-Telegram that the case would be presented to the School Board "at an upcoming meeting."
Bunn, 63, told the newspaper that she was “thrilled and relieved” by the examiner’s opinion.
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