Many Hispanic students are targets of bullying in state
By Devona WalkerStaff Writer
Mayra Sigala lives in a two-bedroom mobile home on a remote road behind Frontier City. The door to her room is wrapped in red and pink Valentines Day paper. Cupids and hearts encase her name. At times, she seems amazingly mature for her age. At others, she seems more insecure than most 15-year-olds. "We try to ignore it as much as we can, but it just gets worse and worse,” Mayra said about the racist slurs yelled at her in the crowded hallways of Edmond Memorial High School. The first incident occurred in early November, within a week of the passage of House Bill 1804, Oklahoma's stringent immigration enforcement statute. A fellow student, a football player, yelled at her in the hallway. "He kept calling me names,” she said. "He kept telling me to go back to Mexico. I tried to tell him that I was born here, but he didn't believe me.” Other students laughed. "I guess they all agreed with him,” she said. Mayra did not tell the principal. She feared he would not believe her. Instead, she told her Spanish teacher. A few other Hispanic students were experiencing the same thing, she said. They were told by the teacher that something would be done. But the behavior continued, Mayra said. School officials say the information was not passed on. They say if they had known, something would have been done. But they conceded there have been issues in the past.