Another protest planned for Mae’s today over indigenous wear

-demonstrators unhappy with school’s response

A young woman of Amerindian heritage bearing a placard which states: “#RupununiStandsWithYou” and “#IndigenousIsNotInappropriate”

Another protest has been planned against the Mae’s Schools for midday today, following the school’s release of a statement in which it denied engaging in discriminatory behaviour against a student of Amerindian heritage during the culture day activity last week.

Natasha Smith, coordinator of the first protest which was held on Tuesday, hours before the statement’s release, stated yesterday that persons were dissatisfied with the school’s response, one which she noted did not include an apology. As a result, she related that they were mobilizing to take to the streets again today.

Meanwhile, another form of protest has begun on social media. Michael McGarrell of the Amerindian People’s Association (APA) has begun a Facebook campaign with the hashtag “Indigenousisnotinappropriate”, which showcases images of persons of Amerindian heritage dressed in their cultural wear. In one instance, students of the St Ignatius Secondary School are photographed holding placards with the tagline, showing their support for the cause.

Students of the St Ignatius Secondary School, Region 9, stand in solidarity with the Mae’s student, while declaring that “indigenous is not inappropriate”.

Last Friday, Karen Small, the mother of the affected student, made a Facebook post relating that her nine-year-old son had not been allowed to enter his school fully dressed in his indigenous wear and that staff, including the security guard, teachers, and the headmistress had stated that his attire was inappropriate.

The school, in response, denied that any staff had been engaged on the matter, and said the student had “settled into his classes without incident.” Furthermore, they implied that the child had not adhered to the required mode of dress, as his class reportedly had to portray the Portuguese culture, and students were reportedly told to wear underclothes to prevent exposure.

The school claimed that this was done in an oral brief leading up to the activity, despite the fact that they had sent out letters to the parents specifying that “pupils will be allowed to dress in their cultural wear, depicting an ethnic group of their choice….” and nothing else.

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