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US teacher dances wearing Native American headgear, sent on leave following outrage

The video, evidently recorded by a student of Native American descent, captured the masked instructor from North High School wearing head feathers repeatedly chanting, “SOH CAH TOA,” a mnemonic for remembering trigonometry terms.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: October 23, 2021 9:23:54 am
As the video went viral, many criticised the teacher's 'tone deaf' actions calling it disturbing and slammed her for being 'insensitive'.

A teacher in the US has come under fire after a video of her dancing while wearing a native American headgear in the classroom went viral. As the teacher’s actions irked netizens, the school district has sent the woman on leave.

The video, recorded by a student,and and showing the Maths teacher hollering and dancing around a classroom in a fake feathered headband, has triggered discussions about cultural appropriation and racism with even local politicians getting involved.

“After several minutes of the teacher ‘war hooping & tomahawk chopping’, the student began filming because he, ‘felt that violence was being committed against him and he had the right to record’,” Akalei Brown of @corn_maiden_designs on Instagram, wrote while sharing the disturbing clip.

“I am sharing this video because these behaviors can no longer be swept under the rug! As adults, we must stand up for our youth!” Brown added without naming the student who filmed it but mentioned he “outwardly identifies as Native American”.

According to the post, the incident was recorded at John W. North High School in Riverside, California. Urging others to widely shared the video to take action, Brown added: “We need to end abuse & discrimination against indigenous youth in schools! There is no excuse for this type of behavior. We’re not in the 1960s anymore, she should know better.”

Watch the video here:

As the video went viral, many criticised the teacher’s ‘tone deaf’ actions calling it disturbing and slammed her for being “insensitive”. Democratic Assembly members Sabrina Cervantes and Jose Medina, who represent parts of Riverside County, and James C. Ramos, a resident of the San Manuel Indian Reservation in San Bernardino County, released a joint statement Thursday condemning the teacher’s actions, according to LA Times. Ramos, a member of the Serrano/Cahuilla tribe, is the first California Native American to be elected to the state Assembly.

“It is damaging and disheartening to see Native American and Indigenous culture represented in such a trite and insensitive way,” the statement said. “We need to ensure that students learn about themselves in positive, accurate and appropriate ways.”

Following the backlash, the Riverside Unified School District (RUSD) Administration issued a statement in the matter and highlighted that the teacher’s actions do not represent the values of their district, ABC 7 reported. “These behaviors are completely unacceptable and an offensive depiction of the vast and expansive Native American cultures and practices,” RUSD statement read. “The teacher has been placed on leave while the District conducts an investigation,” statement added.

“We are deeply committed to implementing inclusive practices and policies that honor the rich diversity of our district and the greater region. We will be working with our students, families, staff and community to regain your trust,” the statement concluded.

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