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CAIR-LA Calls for Diversity Training for All Staff After Riverside Teacher Is Filmed Wearing Faux Native American Headdress During Math Lesson

(LOS ANGELES, CA – 10/25/2021) – The Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today called for diversity training for all staff at John W. North High School in Riverside after a teacher was filmed wearing a faux Native American headdress while “war hooping and tomahawk chopping.”

While the school’s administration placed the teacher on leave and has released a statement that she does not represent their values, a former student took to Twitter to allege that she has engaged in this type of behavior since at least 2012 with no repercussions.

CAIR-LA urges John W. North High School to respond to these allegations, provide training of staff and educators using materials provided by Indigenous organizations, and rely on sources such as Liberated Ethnic Studies (liberatedethnicstudies.org) to implement inclusive and anti-racist model curriculum.

In a statement, CAIR-LA Civil Rights Managing Attorney Amr Shabaik said:

“The actions of the teacher are unacceptable for any individual, nonetheless a teacher responsible for shaping the minds and identities of young people. Her actions play into a patten in American history of the erasure of Indigenous people and the depiction of Indigenous people as caricatures. Her actions not only contribute to the ‘othering’ of Indigenous students, but also signals to other students that the use of racist stereotypes is acceptable.”

CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims. 

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Social & Digital Manager Enjy El-Kadi, (714) 776-1847 or eelkadi@cair.com

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