Fire Teachers Who Allegedly Gave Mocking Awards to Special Ed Students


Target: Michael Lamb, Superintendent of Sulphur Springs Independent School District

Goal: Dismiss teachers who allegedly mocked special education students with offensive annual awards.

Students with learning disabilities were reportedly mocked by their teachers when they were given “Ghetto Awards” in a Sulphur Springs, Texas school recently. This kind of callous behavior should not be tolerated from anyone, much less from our nation’s educators. Demand that the teachers be fired if these accusations turn out to be true.

Controversy has erupted at Sulphur Springs Middle School after two teachers’ alleged behavior toward their special education students came to media attention. According to reports, Tim Couch and Stephanie Garner have been holding mocking so-called “Ghetto Awards” for their special education students for the past eight years.

One student, for example, reportedly received a certificate from the teachers called the “Huh? Award,” which was for expressing confusion so often during class. Reports suggest that this award had been given out to up to 60 other students with learning disabilities in the past, as well. Though details are sketchy on what other awards may have been given out to these students, the above example combined with the fact that they were called “ghetto”—a term loaded with racism and classism—does not bode well.

The Sulphur Springs Independent School District has launched an investigation into this incident to determine without a doubt what these teachers have done. Sign the petition below to demand that, if the investigation determines that the above allegations are true, the school district leadership fire the teachers immediately.


Dear Superintendent Lamb,

I am writing you today regarding the allegations that have recently surfaced against two Sulphur Springs Middle School special education teachers, Tim Couch and Stephanie Garner. If the “awards” they purported to distribute to their students were indeed given out, these two do not deserve to work in your district.

Teaching students with learning and developmental disabilities carries with it a need for special patience, care, and attentiveness. The reported actions of Couch and Garner fly in the face of this need.

Mocking special education students for getting confused in class is unfair to the students and reflects a profound heartlessness on the part of the educators. Calling annual awards given to the students “ghetto” is similarly oblivious and demonstrative of the educators’ ignorance and insensitivity around matters of race, class, and disability.

With that in mind, it was entirely appropriate for you to launch an investigation into Couch and Garner and their alleged awards. I demand that if the investigation finds that these two indeed distributed these offensive certificates to their students, you let them go immediately.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: ajari

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  1. caryl sawyer says:

    Administrators don’t give a damn about hiring quality instructors, they’re just filling the basic requirements.

    This is their fault. They knew better.

  2. Ann Delicath says:

    Although I find what these teachers did totally reprehensible, I think that a meeting with ALL TEACHERS informing them of the damage they do to handicapped students whether physically handicapped or slow learners when they make them the butt of tasteless jokes should be the first step. At the same time they should have a special sit-down conference with the teachers who showed that unteacher-like behavior, telling them that they are on probation and will be fired should there be a repeat of their behavior.

  3. Amy M Glogowski says:

    I would home school if I had any children, this is uncalled for & discusting behavior!

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