Breanna Reeves | IE Voice/Black Voice News

On February 3 during the weekly Riverside Unified School District Board Meeting, members voted 4-1 to fire the North High School teacher who misappropriated Native American culture last fall.

In October 2021, the math teacher was caught on camera mockingly chanting and dancing around the classroom in a fake headdress in an attempt to teach a trigonometry lesson. The video went viral. In response, community members and supporters across the internet called for the teacher’s immediate termination. 

Initially, RUSD released a statement in response to the incident, advising, “Her actions do not represent the values of our district.”  And, the teacher was put on administrative leave while they investigated the incident.

Before the board’s decision, community members addressed the issue, emphasizing the importance of the board’s decision. One speaker took the podium to define “red face” as being an unacceptable and racist practice of mimicking and mocking Native American people.

Following the board meeting, the district posted a verbal update in regard to the steps the district is taking to address equity and curriculum related to the Native American community.

“RUSD leadership is working to ensure accountability. Specifically, we want to make sure that our staff and teachers feel empowered to correct situations where interactions with our students or with each other do not meet our RUSD expectations. Most importantly, we want to make sure that all of RUSD is living up to our values,” the statement concluded.

Breanna Reeves is a reporter in Riverside, California, and uses data-driven reporting to cover issues that affect the lives of Black Californians. Breanna joins Black Voice News as a Report for America Corps member. Previously, Breanna reported on activism and social inequality in San Francisco and Los Angeles, her hometown. Breanna graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Print & Online Journalism. She received her master’s degree in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics. Contact Breanna with tips, comments or concerns at or via twitter @_breereeves.