UTSA presents free Sept. 19 screening of 'Stolen Education' documentary

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(Sept. 17, 2013) -- The UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Consortium for Social Transformation, and Higher Education Administration Student Association will host a Sept. 19 screening of "Stolen Education," a documentary about the Mexican-American movement for educational desegregation in Texas.

>> Free and open to the public, the screening and Q&A will be 5:30-7:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19 in the Buena Vista Theatre (1.326) on the UTSA Downtown Campus.

>> View the trailer for "Stolen Education."

Produced by University of Utah Associate Professor Enrique Aleman Jr., the documentary tells the remarkable story of his mother, Lupe Aleman, who at age nine had been relegated to a Texas first-grade classroom for three years, not because of her academic performance but because she was Mexican-American. Administrators and teachers argued that their practice was necessary because promoting Mexican-American students like Lupe would adversely affect the education of white children.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed de facto school segregation, forcing school districts to close Mexican and African-American schools. However, school boards across the county found ways to deny the court's equal opportunity mandate such as by using segregation based on language. The practice was particularly prevalent in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

In 1956, with the assistance of the American G.I. Forum, eight Mexican-American elementary students and their families filed a class action lawsuit against the Texas-based Driscoll Consolidated Independent School District for discrimination. The lawsuit was spurred on by the placement of Linda Perez, an English-only speaking student in the Mexican (Spanish-speaking) classroom.

The discrimination case went to court and lasted two days. The court found in favor of the plaintiffs. However, it took years until the school district was desegregated.

To learn more about the Sept. 19 screening, contact Leah Valdez-Gaffari in the UTSA Consortium for Social Transformation at 210-458-8542 or email UTSA Professor Maricela Oliva.