Amidst an apology from the district and comments from many others blasting a Cibola High School teacher accused in a racist incident, some parents have stepped forward to show their support for that teacher.
It all came during an APS Board of Education meeting Wednesday night. It was the first full board meeting since the district announced the termination of the teacher accused in the racial incident.
The teacher at the center of the incident is accused of cutting the hair of one Native American student and calling another Native American student a “bloody Indian.” It happened as the students were in the teacher’s Language Arts class on Halloween.
APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy spoke as the meeting started, offering a public apology.
“I want to offer a heartfelt apology on behalf of APS and on my behalf for any pain caused by the events that transpired at Cibola High School,” said Reedy.
The superintendent also said the district will address racism and cultural sensitivity at all schools.
“We have been trying, we’ve been working, but obviously we have so much more to do, and again, we need to do it together,” said Reedy.
Out of 30 speakers from the crowd, two parents spoke up to support the accused teacher, Mary Jane Eastin.
“I’m not saying she didn’t make a mistake, I’m saying she was the best teacher at Cibola,” said one supporting parent.
“I am sorry to the girls who were offended by Ms. Eastin, but in my heart, and everyone knows Ms. Eastin knows that she never meant that to be racist, she was acting out a historical character on Halloween,” said another supporting parent.
Some say they just want to hear from the teacher herself.
“I just hope Ms. Eastin at least apologizes because as long, as she stays quiet, it doesn’t help,” said another speaker at Wednesday’s meeting.
KRQE News 13 has reached out to people who have contact with the teacher about her side of all of this, but we haven’t gotten a response.
APS says its police department has finished its initial investigation into what happened and contacted the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office about their initial findings.
The District Attorney’s Office told KRQE News 13 they haven’t made a final determination on if the teacher will face criminal charges. The department released the following statement:
“This behavior is completely unacceptable, however, based on preliminary information, it does not appear to meet the necessary elements for criminal prosecution. We will reach out to the relevant agency to request additional information before making a final decision.”
–Michael Patrick, spokesman, 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.