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“Speak English, We’re in America”

Blurred background of tunnel-like hallway lined with multi-colored lockers. - Image

Carlos Cobian, a junior at Socorro High School in Texas, was watching an international soccer match between Uruguay and Argentina on Monday via his cell phone when a white, female substitute teacher approached him to ask for his electronic device.

“Por qué (why)?” he asks.

The woman angrily responds him by saying, “Speak English, we’re in America.”

Cobian is among the predominant Mexican Latinx community that live in the El Paso area. According to Shared.com, Latinxs make up 90% of the student population at Socorro High School.

“I was shocked, and then I got a little mad,” Cobian tells reporters. He was frustrated that the teacher somehow singled him out of all the other kids in the classrooms who were also using cellphones at the same time he was. Cobian found the teacher’s comment “a little racist” given she was teaching in an area by the US-Mexico border. 

Video footage that captured the incident show Cobian expressing no signs of antagonization against the teacher upon being called out in front of everyone – and yet, she proceeded to call security in to remove Cobian for questioning.

“She actually tried to say I pushed her, but I didn’t,” Cobian explains. 

After reviewing evidence provided by the video, officials declared that Cobian is not guilty of any wrongdoing. 

The video has since gone viral on social media, sparking outrage from communities around the world, including the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), whose president called the incident “abominable.”

Socorro Independent School District’s spokesperson Daniel Escobar states that a thorough investigation is on its way. 

“Appropriate action, per our employee code of conduct policies, will be taken,” he says.

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Vivian Wang

Vivian is a travel enthusiast and food connoisseur living in New York City. Her curiosity and passion for languages and culture has taken her across eight countries over the past year. When not working, you can find her meandering in art museums or sampling food at the street markets.

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