Myriam Gurba made headlines with her criticism of American Dirt and now she has been put on administrative leave because she vocalized support for students who were allegedly abused by a racist fellow teacher. “I have just been placed on administrative leave for being ‘disruptive,'” the Mexican-American writer tweeted to her more than 25,000 followers on Friday after she was escorted out of Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Yesterday, students came out in support of Gurba with a rally and also reportedly walking out of the campus and protesting against the abuse and mistreatment, sharing their support on social with #ImWithHer and shouting “We Stand with Gurba.”
"Justice for Gurba!" Poly students yelled during protests today in support of Poly teacher Myriam Gurba. She was placed on paid leave after tweeting sharp critiques of the district. Read more @lbpost : https://t.co/qQ0oFGsdGH
— VoiceWaves (@LBVoiceWaves) February 24, 2020
A group of fellow students and I started a protest at school because we need our voices to be heard. We will not be silenced any longer! pic.twitter.com/KxS02hDm4a
— ☾ ✰ jazzy star ✰ ☽ (@jazzyjukes) February 24, 2020
— victoria flores (@vict0riaflores) February 24, 2020
The Long Beach Post reports that the Los Angeles police are investigating allegations that Libby Huff, a business teacher at the school, called one of her students the n-word, pulled students’ hair, yanked their ears, and threw pencils at them. The school district placed her on leave in January, but she returned earlier this month before being placed on administrative leave again pending a second investigation as more accusations surfaced. “He was in her classroom, he asked a question, and she responded, ‘Don’t fuck with me, it’s Christmas, get out of here, n-word,’” Gurba told The Daily Beast.
“Our school district placed Poly High School teacher Myriam Gurba on paid administrative leave,” Chris Eftychiou, a spokesman for the Long Beach Unified School District, said in an email to the Los Angeles Times. “The school district is not at liberty to provide further details because of confidentiality rules affecting personnel matters.”
Gurba has also shared allegations that another LBUSD teacher sexually assaulted her in 2016 and when she told the district and nothing was done. Eftychiou told the Long Beach Post the allegations “were previously reported to law enforcement and found to be unsubstantiated.” Gurba seemingly responded in a tweet stating “testimony is evidence.”
When victims speak out and state that they have been injured, many folks clamor, "Show me the evidence!"
This demand illustrates a profound misunderstanding of evidence.
TESTIMONY *IS* EVIDENCE.
— Myriam Chingona Gurba de Serrano (@lesbrains) February 23, 2020
She’s also been tweeting that “black and brown” students were targetted by authorities and removed from the classroom to be interrogated “Central Park 5 Style,” — referring to the intimidation techniques used against the young men in that notorious NYC case. “Apparently if I hurt kids, I’m fine on campus, but if I try to protect them I’m a criminal,” Gurba said in an Instagram video. She also shared a speech that she says a “brown student” tried to share that she says the school intentionally tried to down out, where they shared that they are asking for respect and recognition in the face of racism and homophobia. “I stand here today and represent every tear shed by every African American, every tear shed every LGBTQ+ member (sic), and every tear shed by every victim of rape. I represent the sorrow in those tears and represent a revolution today; against racism, homophobia, and rape.”
Gurba shows no signs of going quiet, taking to social media to ask others to come forward with their stories of mistreatment or abuse at LBUSD and has shared that she’s spoken with lawyers but is not sure what her next steps will be.
“They outed me by name although my ‘crime’ is cultural criticism. They perp walked me out and made me turn over my keys. They ordered me to stop talking, the way one does to a child,” she tweeted. “It seems to me that the disparities exist because one of us is white [Huff] and the other is unapologetically not.”
— Myriam Chingona Gurba de Serrano (@lesbrains) July 21, 2020