Frustrated parents and students let loose on Albuquerque school board members, upset over a racial incident at Cibola High School involving a teacher and two Native American students.
The incident happened last month during a Language Arts class on Halloween. The teacher at the center of the incident is now on paid leave. She’s accused of snipping one student’s hair and calling another student a derogatory name.
At an APS Board Committee meeting Wednesday, more than 30 students and parents confronted the APS Board about what happened, many calling for the teacher’s firing.
One of the students at the center of the incident also addressed the board, saying she was called a “bloody Indian.”
“No one should go through this,” said McKenzie Johnson, a Cibola High Junior.
Johnson says the teacher’s comment came as the teacher was dressed in a New Orleans voodoo witch costume, as the teacher quizzed students on reading comprehension. Some students in the class were also dressed in costume.
“Once she called out on me, she asked, ‘Now what are you supposed to be? A bloody Indian?’” said Johnson as she retold her story about the incident to the APS Board.
Johnson says she “didn’t expect” the comment.
“I didn’t expect to hear this type of thing from my teacher, I just came to school to learn,” said Johnson.
For some reason, another student had her hair cut during the class.
“We’ve all been harassed by our peers and by our teachers, we shouldn’t have to learn in this type of environment,” said Johnson.
Johnson’s feelings were shared by dozens of others at Wednesday’s meeting.
“This is very hurtful,” said a woman named Reynalda. “I will not stand for this and my people will not stand for this.”
“How in this day in age can a teacher be allowed to call a child a ‘bloody Indian?’” asked Dorothy Fulton.
APS Board President David Peercy ended the public forum Wednesday promising the district will take action to try to prevent future incidents.
“I want to make sure we’re going to do something here, OK?” said Peercy. “We will, in fact, inform you and it will be soon, it will be soon, OK?”
The teacher at the center of the incident has been on paid leave since Halloween as the district runs through its administrative investigation. APS police launched the initial investigation, but so far, no criminal charges have been filed against the teacher.