The video showed a teacher, who has been identified on social media as Candace Reed, at John W. North High School in Riverside, California sporting a fake feather headdress while chanting “SOH-CAH-TOA,” as a way for the students to remember the trigonometry lesson. Reed was recorded by a Native American student in the math class and the clip has been viewed more than five million times. The student reportedly began filming because he “felt that violence was being committed against him and he had the right to record.”
On Thursday (Oct. 21), the Riverside Unified School District released a statement about the incident and said Reed was placed on leave. “A recording of one of our teachers has been widely circulated on social media,” the statement read. “These behaviors are completely unacceptable and an offensive depiction of the vast and expansive Native American cultures and practices. Her actions do not represent the values of our district. The teacher has been placed on leave while the District conducts an investigation.”
“The Riverside Unified School District values diversity, equity and inclusion, and does not condone behavior against these values,” the statement continued. “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.”
Laura Boling, president of the Riverside City Teachers Association, stated her disappointment over the situation. “We care deeply about all our students and do not condone actions that alienate, hurt and threaten Indigenous students’ learning environment,” she said in a statement, per the Los Angeles Times.
Earlier this month, California became the first state to require students to take an ethnic studies or social justice class in order to graduate from high school.
Check out the video of the teacher below.