A Riverside High School teacher was filmed mocking Native Americans by wearing a faux headdress and chanting during a math lesson in October last year. The teacher at John W. North High School was placed on leave after the video went viral. According to KTLA, the teacher was fired last week after months of protest.
The Riverside school board announced in a meeting last week that the unnamed teacher was fired after a 4-1 vote in a closed session. The decision was cheered by community members representing local tribes. Riverside Unified School District officials did not confirm the identity of the fired employee.
The video in question showed the teacher dancing around a classroom in a fake feathered headdress, which sparked furious outrage from the Native American community.
The video, which was posted on social media in October last year, featured the teacher chanting a mnemonic device, 'Sohcahtoa,' and stomping around the classroom making chopping motions. Sohcahtoa is a device often used to learn trigonometric functions in Maths. The video is currently not available.
The video drew flak for 'blatant cultural insensitivity' and was branded 'racist.' Multiple protests were organized by community members in response to the video. The Riverside School District noted in a statement then that the 'teacher's actions do not represent the values of their district.'
"These behaviors are completely unacceptable and an offensive depiction of the vast and expansive Native American cultures and practices," the statement further added.
The president of the Riverside City Teachers Assn Laura Boling said in a statement that they 'condone actions that alienate, hurt and threaten Indigenous students' learning environment.'
The District spokesperson, Diana Meza said that the teacher has the right to a hearing in front of a state commission. She also exercises the option to appeal the decision, which could take up to three years.