Eagle Valley Middle School teacher placed on administrative leave
An Eagle Valley Middle School teacher has been placed on administrative leave Monday following an incident that included alleged discriminatory remarks made during class, according to a statement released by the Carson City School District.
The incident occurred Nov. 20 and prompted a peaceful demonstration by the Native American community on Monday at the school district’s administrative office at 1402 W. King St., where more than 25 community members appeared on site to have a discussion amongst each other about potential next steps once the school district has completed an investigation.
Ray Bacasegua Valdez, director of the American Indian Movement of Northern Nevada, led participants in a prayer circle and songs and invited everyone to provide general comments.
“We want the union to have an unbiased hearing and to investigate it,” Valdez told the Appeal. “We ask that the administration do the right thing, that this community have some cultural understanding, and we’re not going to be silent.”
The district released a statement earlier Monday.
“Administrators were made aware that an Eagle Valley Middle School teacher allegedly made discriminatory comments during a class lesson Friday, Nov. 20,” according to the district’s statement. “The district is committed to providing a working and learning environment that is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment and opposes any statements or actions considered as discriminatory. The necessary steps are being taken to fully investigate the allegations. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Rocky Boice, Sr., co-director of AIM, a former student of the district, said it was important the issue wasn’t “swept under the table.”
“We don’t know the full story to everything,” Boice said. “But a lot of things are the same as they’ve always been, and we’re asking for some change. … The trouble with the history books that are still being used today is they don’t teach the truth.”
Valdez’s discussions with Superintendent Richard Stokes have only been via e-mail, he said, but after the incident with the teacher was first reported.
Community members in attendance on Monday at the district office included native and non-native members in support of further action, including forming a Native American committee to promote a greater understanding of cultural traditions and sensitivity in the classroom. However, Valdez said it was important that the district complete its inquiry first.
“We just have to be patient,” Valdez said. “We got rid of Columbus Day in Reno. We held the mayor accountable and the city council accountable. … We didn’t go away. We’re pretty patient. We’re protectors, but we’re prayerful. We’re coming at it in a traditional way, in a kind way, but we’re going to hold our spot.”