‘It’s hard to heal when the knife is still in your back’

‘It’s hard to heal when the knife is still in your back’

Parents call for APS overhaul at first community forum

By Colleen Keane
Special to the Times


It’s been three months since racially charged incidents on Halloween day at Cibola High School sparked outrage by parents who are still waiting for solutions from a school system that they say has allowed bias and prejudice to fester.

On Jan. 24, taking a step to respond to parents, Albuquerque Public Schools hosted its first Native American Open Community Forum seeking input on cultural awareness training and curriculum.

Around 70 parents and community members, mostly tribal members, crowded into the west side’s Paradise Hills Community Center annex. They were there to support McKenzie Johnson, the Diné student who was called a “bloody Indian,” and another Native student whose hair was cut by a Cibola High teacher, identified as Mary Jane Eastin.

Many said they wanted more than “Band-Aid” solutions. The school district sent out a general apology last year, but the Johnsons are still waiting for apologies from Cibola High Principal Pamela Meyer and Eastin. APS didn’t respond by deadline Wednesday to a request regarding whether apologies are forthcoming or not.

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