Photo: Shirley Bunn Teacher Says 'Go Back to Mexico'
After 24 years of exemplary teaching and two ‘Teacher of the Year’ awards, Shirley Bunn found herself suspended with pay after telling a disruptive eighth grader to “Go Back to Mexico.” Bunn, 63, a math teacher at Arlington, Texas’ Barnett Junior High School will face the school board and a possible dismissal later this month after her “moment of frustration” occurred in the classroom.
While passing out Title 1 forms to her eighth grade students, one student, described as disruptive, requested a form in Spanish. Stating several times that he was Mexican, Bunn retorted back, “Go back to Mexico.” “It was almost instantaneous. I thought, ‘God, I don’t believe that came out of my mouth,’” Bunn told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “It was just an extremely bad day.”
After being reviewed by an independent hearing examiner, they have requested that Bunn be reinstated as a teacher in the district. The report states that the school does not have sufficient evidence for dismissal. “Under the circumstances when taken in the context of the moment and the lack of intent for ‘Go back to Mexico’ to be a racially or nationality-based pejorative remark, I find it was not a remark of an egregious nature,” the independent examiner told the Fox affiliate.
Although this previous ‘Teacher of the Year’ has had many exceptional reports from both teachers and students, in a private conversation with a counselor she was also reported as describing a group of disruptive students as the “Mexican Mafia.”
Bunn’s future teaching career will be in the hands of the school board. They will be meeting later this month to decide on her reinstatement or possible dismissal after this incident.