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Months After Racist Incident, Families Frustrated By APS Response

Hannah Colton
KUNM Public Radio
Daisy Thompson, director of Indian Education at APS, reads suggestions about cultural competency training written by community members.

Albuquerque Public Schools held an open meeting Thursday night in response to the October incident in which students say a Cibola High School teacher used a racial slur and cut the hair of a Native American student. Parents, students and advocates told school officials that the district’s response has been too little and too late. 

At a community center on the northwest side, APS leaders passed out sticky notes and asked for feedback on indigenous education and cultural competency training.

Then, people lined up at a microphone and spoke of the suffering caused by incidents like the one at Cibola High School.

"My daughter had an experience when she was in third grade, another student apparently learned a stereotype and she was attacked with it at school. My little kid, you know," said Nicole Shaw, a mother of three APS students.

She asked the district to commit more funding to programs and staffing within its Indian Education Department. 

"There’s all these negative perceptions and no one in the school district is teaching them otherwise, until there’s an issue. And that’s not right," she said.

Other speakers mentioned a district court ruling from last year that New Mexico violates the constitutional rights of Native American students and others by not providing a sufficient and culturally relevant education.

APS promised to hold another forum on the issue this spring.


Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.

Hannah served as news director at KUNM and reported on education, Albuquerque politics, and anything public health-related. She died in November 2020.
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