Weslaco School Addresses Washington DC Incident involving Migrant Students
WESLACO – Rio Grande Valley Congressman Filemon Vela sat out of Friday’s presidential inauguration after a reported incident of verbal harassment against some students.
He said Donald Trump needs to change his tone towards Hispanics and value their contributions to the country. But he’s not optimistic that it will happen.
Weslaco staff and administrators are hoping to turn the negative experience into a learning opportunity.
Weslaco ISD Superintendent Priscilla Canales confirmed it was migrant students from both high schools that were harassed during their visit to D.C.
Canales said the migrant students are part of the CLOSEUP Program, which allows migrant students to experience things they otherwise wouldn’t. She’s saddened they went through this but is proud they took the high road.
It’s one of the most important moments for the nation that anyone can experience – the inauguration of a new president. That’s why Weslaco ISD sent 40 of their high school migrant students to Washington, D.C.
“To experience the Democratic process, visit the important monuments and museums in D.C.,” she explained.
Canales said not everything went smoothly for the students.
On Wednesday, in separate incidents, one student was spit at and several others were verbally harassed by students also visiting D.C. for the inauguration.
“Life sometimes presents negative experiences and that even the negative ones can be used as opportunities for learning and understanding. With that said, we are so proud of the way our students and our staff handled themselves,” Canales said.
Canales couldn’t help but get emotional as she spoke of the things her students went through.
“It’s just… I’m proud of the students,” she emphasized.
Parents of all the students on the trip were notified about the incidents. The five chaperones on the trip used the situation as an opportunity to talk to the students, individually and one on one, about the experience.
Canales said there is a lesson to be learned.
“Sometimes you can’t control the behavior of others and you still take the high road,” she said.
The students that allegedly harassed the Valley students are believed to be from California. The incidents were reported to the CLOSEUP Program and an investigation is underway.
Canales said she had an opportunity to speak to her staff and students just after the inauguration. They told her it was a once in a lifetime experience and they’d do it all over again.