Native American Leaders and State Lawmakers Offer Help to California Schools After Viral Video Incident

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A California math teacher was recently placed on paid administrative leave after she was filmed donning a feather head dress and doing a bizarre ‘Native American’ dance for her students. Riverside school officials have stated that they are in an ongoing investigation. School Board President Tom Hunt said that the investigation was continuing and no decisions had been made.

Meanwhile, Native American leaders and state lawmakers from the Inland Empire have come forward to offer ideas to educators Monday, Nov. 15, for preventing another classroom incident like the one at a Riverside high school that sparked widespread outrage.

The meeting was called a few weeks after the Oct. 19 incident involving the math teacher at North High who was captured on a student’s video, which was shared on social media and almost instantly went viral.

The ideas included hiring more Native American teachers, emphasizing ethnic studies, weaving Native American culture more prominently and accurately into history curriculum and working closely with area tribes to develop sensitive and informed teaching practices. They were shared at a meeting of the Riverside Unified School District board. They also discussed about the importance of the ethnic study bill which will require California Schools to place high school ethnic studies as a requirement before graudation (Riverside Legislator’s Bill). They pointed out that such policies must be reinforced with robust and continuing training. “A one-time online sensitivity training of teachers, administrators and employees will certainly not get what we are trying to accomplish,” assembly member Jose Medina said. Medina said it is crucial that administrators embrace ethnic studies and pass their enthusiasm along to teachers.

Watch More About This: Riverside Unified School District Board Meetings.