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‘Cultural assault’ alleged in Cibola High student protest

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A few dozen Cibola High students demonstrate outside the West Side school Wednesday morning in response to a recent incident that resulted in a teacher being put on paid leave. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — About 30 students protested outside Cibola High School Wednesday morning in response to incidents at the school last week that resulted in a teacher being put on paid leave.

The “We Stand with Cibola High Indigenous Students” rally was “in response to the blatant cultural assault of Indigenous Cibola High School Students,” protest organizers wrote online.

Albuquerque Public Schools would only previously confirm a teacher allegedly made a culturally insensitive remark to one student and cut another student’s hair in what was described by the district as a “Halloween stunt.” On Wednesday, APS would not comment on the protest but said the investigation into the teacher is ongoing.

Melissa Tso, a community organizer for Native American advocacy group The Red Nation, attended the protest a the West Side school early Wednesday morning. She told the Journal she believes a Native American female student had her hair cut by the teacher and another Native American student was the center of what APS called a “culturally insensitive remark.”

Protesters held signs that read “My hair is my prayer,” “My hair is my knowledge,” and “We stay strong ‘cuz we keep our braids long.”

The demonstration lasted about an hour before school started.

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