ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A teen is suing Albuquerque Public Schools and her former teacher for calling her a “bloody Indian” in front of her class. It happened at Cibola High School a little more than a year ago, and the offensive comment cost the teacher her job.
The ACLU is representing the girl. The suit claims the former Cibola High School English teacher created a hostile learning environment for her students.
In a lawsuit filed by Mckenzie Johnson against APS, the now-senior claims she still suffers emotionally from the comments made by her English teacher on Halloween of 2018, when she had blood on her face as part of a costume.
“Once she called out on me, she asked, ‘Now what are you supposed to be? A bloody Indian?'” said McKenzie Johnson, the teen bringing the lawsuit.
The teacher made the comments to McKenzie during a reading comprehension quiz at Cibola High School. Moments before making the comment, she cut three inches off another Native American student’s braids without her permission.
Now more than a year later, the ACLU says Mckenzie has lost her love for school.
“She was a great student, now she’s kind of lost that enjoyment of attending school,” said Sanchez.
That’s why they’re suing APS and the teacher responsible, claiming APS failed to properly supervise and train the teacher. They say the lawsuit aims to set an example that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
The teacher was fired by APS in November 2018. Last January, APS announced it would be moving forward with cultural sensitivity training for employees.
Johnson is asking for an undisclosed amount of monetary damages. KRQE News 13 reached out to APS for comment, but the district declined because it is pending litigation.