Riverside teacher accused of making fun of Native American culture put on leave; video criticized as insensitive

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A Riverside teacher has been put on leave after video of her seen singing and dancing in a fake Native American paper headgear went viral.

A video posted online shows the woman chanting “SohCahToa” while doing the war hoop and cutting a tomahawk in front of the class.

The video was recorded by students and has gone viral since it was uploaded.

The teacher works at John W. North High School and taught trigonometry.

The Riverside Unified School District issued the following statement, “These behaviors are totally unacceptable and are an offensive representation of the vast and vast Native American cultures and practices. His actions do not represent the values ​​of our district. The Riverside Unified School District values ​​diversity, equity and inclusion, and does not represent the values ​​of our district. not tolerate behavior against these values ​​”, the statement read in part.

A school council meeting was held Thursday evening. Community members, parents and the Native American community demand that she be fired.

The teacher has been put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation, according to the school district.

Local lawmakers are also expressing their outrage.

Assembly Member James C. Ramos (D-Highland) issued a joint statement with Assembly Members Jose Medina (D-Riverside) and Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona), “We fully condemn actions that were held at John W. North High School earlier this week. The teacher’s behavior was highly inappropriate and offensive. ”

They explained that they wanted to work with the Riverside School District to make sure similar incidents did not happen again. Ramos said the video highlights the need for a better understanding of Native American culture and history.

“I proposed AB 1554 and ACA 6, which would create the California Indian Education Act to increase students’ knowledge about Native Americans in the state,” he said. indicated on its website.

Ramos is the first California Native American to be elected to the state legislature.

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