American Indians protest treatment at school

School and law enforcement officials denied Wednesday their actions after a fight at Carson High School were motivated by race, as claimed by a group of American Indians during Tuesday's school board meeting.

"We're very concerned and very upset about things that have occurred at the high school," Linda Grayshield, of the Carson Indian Colony, told board members. "A number of Indian students were brought into the office and questioned and told to fill out yellow cards that list them as gang members. The label is very distressing."

Sheriff Kenny Furlong said no such cards exist. He said the students filled out field interrogation sheets, which do not identify them as gang members.

"The information that was retrieved was routine in matter," he said.

About 30 American Indians attended the school board meeting in protest.

"We want a safe, positive learning environment and we're not finding that," Grayshield said.

School Board President John McKenna assured them their complaints would be heard.

"We value our students from your community," he said. "We want them to have the best education in the schools. They're your schools, too."

The incident began Thursday when a fight broke out between two high school students.

Both students were taken to the dean's office and one was arrested. Furlong said other members of the crowd supporting the fight were identified and also brought into the dean's office, where they were told to fill out the cards.

Grayshield requested a meeting with school and law enforcement officials to discuss the incident.

Superintendent Mary Pierczynski said Wednesday she had spoken with Grayshield and tentative meeting plans were established.

"We're always willing to talk with parents," she said. "And this meeting will certainly go beyond just talking about the incident. They are interested in talking about student achievement and curriculum matters as well."

Furlong said his staff will also participate in the conference.

"There's no question about it. We look forward to it," he said. "I would encourage anybody who is concerned about treatment or mistreatment to contact us so we can deal with it properly."


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