UPDATE, 8:15 PM EST, January 14, 2013: The petition continues to go viral, just hours after Change.org sent an email to people.
— Cecilia Hernández (@Ceci_HR) January 15, 2013
— Change_Mex (@Change_Mex) January 14, 2013
ORIGINAL STORY: 4pm EST, January 14, 2013
With all that was happening in December, here is one story we just missed, but after we received a Change.org petition that is now going viral on the Internet, we wanted to share.
Here is what one outlet reported:
Cecilia Hernández, a new civics teacher at Lomas Hill School in Cuajimalpa, was addressing sexual orientation and human rights, which is part of the official Department of Education curriculum.
But administrators say the Oscar-winning film by Gus Van Sant was way too adult.
Hernández, who showed the first half hour of the film to her 7th and 8th graders, says she included the screening in her approved lesson plan and heard no objections.
“She also claims to have selected this film after offering her students other options and it was them who voted to watch “Milk” since it was based on a true story. She added that, before the movie played, she warned students the movie contained scenes that could make them uncomfortable.”
But the day after she showed the clip, she was sent to the principal’s office and was told she was fired. When she went to the school the next day, two security guards took her to the office of the principal.
“The lack of tact and the disrespect you have shown students today is unforgivable,” said principal Annette Muench de Labardini in an email. “I consider it disrespect towards myself as well, since your lesson plan did not say you were showing this filth.”
The Change.org letter we received today has already gotten over 17,000 signatures.
The Proceso story also says that Muench de Labardini communicated to Hernández that she left the children unattended to see a movie for older audiences, and that some of the students felt uncomfortable, and so de the parents.
Here is what Hernández wrote in that letter:
My name is Cecilia. I am an honest professional, hard-worker, justice defender and am faithful to my convictions. I am a clinical psychologist with a wide experience with teenagers. I have been working with youth in different social contexts: psychotherapies, educational orientation and in classrooms.
On November 30th, I was the victim of an injustice: I was unjustifiably and aggressively fired from the middle school Colegio Lomas Hill and treated like a delinquent by the school’s authorities. I was deprived of my freedom for two hours, watched over by security guards and humiliated in front of the institution’s staff and students’ families. I have been morally hurt.
Why was I fired? Because I showed the movie “Milk” to my middle school students. The film tells the story of a recognized fighter for gay rights. The prejudices of the school authorities toward the movie and their intolerance on the gender diversity theme were clear and evident, even if the official program requires approaching these subjects.
Until today, the school hasn’t allowed me to use my hearing rights. The information they presented to the parents and media was manipulated. Even if the Mexican Anti-Discrimination Committee interceded to mediate a conciliatory process, Colegio Lomas Hill refuses to cooperate.
We all have personal convictions and in front of a divergent position, we cannot treat the other person in an insulting way, especially when it is in the name of a non-denominational and academic institution. The power abuse from the directors has hurt my integrity and my professional image. For a young professional and human being, it is unacceptable.
Help me to require a public apology!
I demand a public apology from Colegio Lomas Hill for my unjustifiable termination. I also demand that the school cooperate with the conciliatory process proposed by the Mexican Anti-Discrimination Committee.
The prejudices and intolerance toward a particular theme cannot be and shouldn’t be a firing motive. The way that was done was unacceptable and attempted on Cecilia’s dignity and rights. Furthermore, the information that the institution is transmitting to the media is affecting the image and reputation of a young professional and could damage her future professional career.
For these reasons I demand that Cecilia Hernandez receive public apology to compensate her moral harms.