A high school principal on the Navajo Nation was fired for making statements that were racist, anti-Mormon and homophobic.
J.D. Reed was still in his first year as principal at Crownpoint High School, located in the southeast corner of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, when a secret, 16-minute audio recording of his intolerant remarks surfaced. That recording sparked outrage in this small community and surrounding areas when it was posted online and shared via social media.
Reed was placed on administrative leave March 18, pending an investigation into his conduct. He was fired three days later.
“It was a very easy investigation,” said Frank Chiapetti, superintendent of the Gallup-McKinley School District. “I listened to the recording and I had no choice. He was brought in the following Monday and we separated employment.”
The comments, which came as Reed was talking with colleagues at Crownpoint High School, include disparaging statements about Navajo employees, school board members and leaders in a remote Navajo community. At one point, he claims Navajo school board members discriminate against white people.
“You the wrong color,” he said of white people. “If you’re not white, you got a political agenda.”
In the profanity-laced recording, Reed also outs half of the school board members as having “alternative lifestyles.”
“You can’t have gay Navajos walking around here and that kind of shit,” he said, calling homosexuality a “big issue.”
Reed also makes anti-Mormon comments and speaks negatively about the traditional Navajo shoe game, which is played during winter months.
“They chant the whole time,” he said of the game. “They have no flipping idea what they do and they bark… There’s money on the line.”
The recording, posted on SoundCloud, has been played more than 5,500 times.
The Gallup-McKinley School District is the fifth-largest district in New Mexico, serving an 85-percent Navajo student population in 35 schools. Chiapetti said the district is anxious to replace Reed and move forward.
“We want to hire a full-time person so the kids can heal, so the teachers and staff can move on,” he said. “He hit religion, race and sexual orientation all in one recording. We do not tolerate bullying or that type of targeting of any group.”