Teacher Accused of Targeting Native American Students Resigns From APS
[ Reposted from kunm.org ]
A teacher accused of targeting Native American students in an incident on Halloween resigned from her job with Albuquerque Public Schools, effective Friday, November 30.
Former Cibola High School teacher Mary Eastin confirmed on Tuesday that she chose to end her employment at the district.
APS spokesperson Monica Armenta said in an email Monday that the district is seeking expert assistance for cultural competency training and will seek public input on the training.
Dozens of people packed an Albuquerque Public Schools board meeting Wednesday night in support of a Native American high school student who says she and a classmate were the target of racist treatment by their teacher on Oct. 31.
On Wednesday night, junior McKenzie Johnson from Cibola High School stood at a podium and told six school board members about her Halloween day at school. She said she and her classmates entered Mary Eastin’s classroom to find it darkened, lit only by candles.
Eastin had a quiz for them, Johnson said, and when a boy got an answer wrong, she gave him dog food. “He refused, of course,” recalls Johnson, “and she went after him with a box cutter, saying ‘Are you sure you’re not going to eat it?'”
The teacher then turned to a Native American student with her hair in braids, said Johnson. “Ms. Eastin said, “Do you like your braids?””
At this point, Board Chair David Peercy interrupted Johnson as she spoke, trying to enforce a one-minute time limit on public comment. People in the audience yelled at him to let her speak.
Johnson continued, telling the board that Eastin asked the class “‘Do you think scissors would do the trick?’ And she just cut her hair,” she said. “And the sound of cutting hair was like the sound of celery when you break it off.”
Johnson said Ms. Eastin then turned to her and said “‘Now what are you supposed to be? A bloody Indian?'” She says the class was stunned, and she was so furious she shook.
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