Riverside

Protesters Call For Firing of Riverside Teacher Seen in Video Dancing in Mock Native American Headdress

The video, evidently recorded by a student of Native American descent, captured the masked instructor from North High School wearing head feathers, chanting and moving around her desk as if in the middle of a war dance or some other ritual.

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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.

Outrage continued Thursday over a viral video showing a Riverside County teacher mimicking native Americans in class as protesters are putting more pressure on the school district to fire the teacher.

Protesters are demanding answers about the teacher who mimicked native Americans in class.

"We want an update," said Dee Dee Ybarra, with the American Indian Movement of Southern California. "We don't want this to be something that says we will check into it and six months down the line we are still checking into it."

Last week a native American student recorded a video at John W. North High School.

It shows a white math teacher wearing a fake feather headdress, dancing in class, apparently trying to articulate a mnemonic device called SOHCAHTOA to help students learn trigonometry.

A yearbook photo from 2012 shows her wearing a similar headdress. NBC4 is blurring her face because the teacher has not been charged with a crime.

"When I saw that video I was highly offended and shocked and worried for our students," said Sally Sanders, a protester.

"It kind of makes a mockery of the culture whether she meant it or not," said Brenda Gutierrez, with the AIM. "It makes fun of it."

"It makes me feel very angry, very frustrated," said Fathiyyah Ismail, a senior and a native American. "She shouldn't have been doing that."

She wants Riverside Unified to add more lessons in its curriculum about indigenous people and their important place in history.

"Even if they are not native they can understand that our race and our people went through so much," she said.

School administrators didn't have an update on the teacher's situation, only saying that she is still on leave during their investigation.

Last week in a statement the school district condemned the teacher's behavior, calling it unacceptable and offensive.

The protesters are planning to pressure school administrators until their demands are met, including the teacher's termination.

"It's like, 'Come on, you should have known better. You should have been better educated. There's other ways of teaching math,'" Gutierrez said.

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