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DA to review Cibola High School Halloween incident

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The District Attorney’s Office said Thursday it will conduct a review of Albuquerque Public Schools’ documentation and records concerning an incident at Cibola High School in October.

A Cibola English teacher is accused of cutting the hair of a Native American student and calling another a “bloody Indian.” It occurred on Halloween while the teacher was conducting a lesson plan, wearing a New Orleans voodoo-like costume and impersonating a book character, according to APS.

DA spokesman Michael Patrick told the Journal the office was making its formal request Thursday to review “the complete incident in its entirety.”

“There is a chance to continue an investigation after our review,” he said.

Patrick added there was an initial meeting on Nov. 30 in which an APS investigator and a deputy district attorney discussed the preliminary findings of the school district’s investigation. At that time, there was insufficient evidence to prosecute, explained Patrick.

Now, the District Attorney’s Office is aiming to analyze APS’ findings from the completed investigation.

APS has released little information on the incident, withholding the teacher’s name and investigation documentation from the public.

However, students and parents have identified the woman as Mary Eastin.

Earlier this month, APS announced the teacher is no longer working for the school district, declining to say if she resigned or was fired.

On Thursday, in response to a records request for a resignation letter from the Journal, APS produced a two-sentence note from Eastin that indicates the teacher cut ties with the district.

“I will be severing my employment with APS upon exhaustion of the leave to which I am entitled. In the interim, I will not be performing any duties for APS,” according to the letter signed by Eastin.

During a heated APS Board of Education meeting Wednesday night, Superintendent Raquel Reedy apologized on behalf of the district and said she is working on a cultural sensitivity plan.