Hispanic Kids Reportedly Being Bullied After Alabama Law Took Effect
It was just another regular schoolyard basketball game until a team of Hispanic seventh-graders defeated the opposing team from Alabama.
According to the Mexican mother of one of the winning players, the reaction was instantaneous and appears to be rooted in Alabama’s new law on illegal immigration.
The mother, who spoke through a translator and did not want her name used, said, “They told them, `You shouldn’t be winning. Go back to Mexico.’” The woman and her son are in the United States illegally.
Spanish-speaking parents revealed that their children are being confronted by more bullying and taunts at school ever since the state’s tough crackdown on illegal immigration took effect last month. Many of the parents blamed the name-calling on fallout from the measure, which has been extensively covered in the news, discussed in several classrooms, as well as debated around dinner tables.
Officials from the Justice Department are monitoring bullying incidents that are linked to the law.
Thomas Perez, the head of the civil rights division of the agency, during a stop in Birmingham, stated, “We’re hearing a number of reports about increases in bullying that we’re studying.”
A bilingual telephone hotline, as well as a special email account, have been established by the Justice Department where residents can report any threats or violence that are based on ethnic or racial background that could be linked to the law. Officials declined to furnish a breakdown on the types of complaints that are now being received.
However, according to Malissa Valdes, the Alabama Department of Education spokeswoman, they have not received any reports of bullying that could be linked to the law. She also said that any parents who call the state to complain would have been referred to the principal of the school where the child attends.