Rio Rancho Santa story gains national attention

Created: 12/16/2013 6:14 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

On Friday, KOB Eyewitness News 4 broke the story of a Rio Rancho teacher ridiculing a black student for wearing a Santa outfit. Now, the story has gone national and the NAACP has weighed in.

National networks and newspapers and thousands of online commenters have weighed in on the story, most supporting the student and calling for the teacher to be fired.

The local NAACP agrees the teacher was in the wrong.

“The comments made by the teacher in the open classroom were offensive, outrageous and inflammatory,” NAACP president Dr. Harold Bailey said.

But they also say we should step back and put things in perspective.

“The teacher's probably a good person, he just made a mistake...we all make mistakes,” Bailey said.

The teacher who made the comments has apologized to the student and is on paid administrative leave. The students’ father has asked that his son be removed from the classroom. But the NAACP says the work doesn’t end there, and that this should remind people how important it is to talk about racial issues in schools.

“The NAACP is requesting that this teacher -- along with other teachers -- be involved in diversity and sensitivity training. They may already have it, but with incidents like this, we may need to refresh our memory,” Bailey said.

Rio Rancho Public Schools says this teacher – and all others – receive diversity training every three years. The NAACP says it should happen more often than that.

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