A Riverside County teacher who was seen mimicking Native Americans has been fired months after the incident was caught on cellphone video by a Native American student, according to a local Native American group.
American Indian Movement SoCal has been pressuring the Riverside Unified School District to take action.
A Native American student had recorded a math teacher at John W. North High School in Riverside wearing a fake feather head dress and dancing in class while possibly trying to articulate a mnemonic device for trigonometry called SOH CAH TOA.
Many Native Americans feel the teacher was mocking their heritage and for months, they held protests, pressuring the school district to terminate her.
“You know we’ve had comments coming from all over the world. People were watching Riverside Unified School District they need to make a change,” Dee Dee Ybarra said.
Ybarra is with the organization American Indian Movement SoCal.
The teacher was caught on camera dancing and chanting in math class in Riverside County. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021.
She was at Thursday’s school board meeting and says school administrators terminated an employee during a private closed session, but didn’t reveal a name.
“Even though they never said her name, they did give her employee number,” Ybarra said.
A spokesperson for the school district would not confirm if the math teacher is the one who was fired. He sent a statement, saying that state privacy rules prevented the release of employee names.
“She has instilled stereotypes and misinformation to a whole generation of students,” Ybarra said.
During the board meeting, some praised board members for the firing, but Ybarra says Native Americans deserve more.
“You know if she really felt bad about what she did, why was there no apology? From anyone anywhere?” Ybarra said.
NBCLA is not revealing the name of the teacher in part because we are still trying to contact her for comment.
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