Actor James Woods slammed a suspended California teacher, who was seen on video imitating a Native American dance, proclaiming, “This nonsense is shoved down [students’] throats” on a daily basis, when they should be learning civics or history.
“Public schools no longer teach civics or history. Half the kids who graduate can’t make change for a dollar, or know how to read an analog clock. But this nonsense is shoved down their throats daily,” James Woods tweeted on Friday.
The actor was reacting to a video of a California high school math teacher who was placed on leave after a video showing her chanting and dancing while wearing a fake Native American headdress went viral on social media.
In the video, the teacher — from John W. North High School in Riverside Unified School District — can be seen jumping around and chanting, “SOH-CAH-TOA,” in an apparent attempt to get her students to remember a trigonometry principle.
Yesterday a Native American student filmed this video in his Math class. After several minutes of the teacher “war hooping & tomahawk chopping” the student began filming because he, “felt that violence was being committed against him and he had the right to record.” pic.twitter.com/4zvFS6JfPw
— Iviviq ᐃᕕᕕᖅ ❄️ (@UrbanInuk) October 21, 2021
Riverside Unified School District addressed the video in a statement on Thursday, acknowledging that “a recording of one of our teachers has been widely circulated on social media,” adding that “her actions do not represent the values of our district.”
“These behaviors are completely unacceptable and an offensive depiction of the vast and expansive Native American cultures and practices,” the school district continued. “The teacher has been placed on leave while the District conducts an investigation.”
The district went on to affirm that it “values diversity, equity and inclusion, and does not condone behavior against these values.”
“We are deeply committed to implementing inclusive practices and policies that honor the rich diversity of our district and the greater region,” it added. “We will be working with our students, families, staff and community to regain your trust.”
— Riverside Unified School District (@RiversideUSD) October 21, 2021
The name of the teacher in the viral video has not been revealed.
Laura Boling, president of the Riverside City Teachers Association, told the Los Angeles Times that the union was “disappointed” by the behavior.
“We care deeply about all our students and do not condone actions that alienate, hurt and threaten Indigenous students’ learning environment,” Boling said.