Radio host fuels controversyDon Day | May 12, 2008
More than 50 students at Minico High School in Rupert showed pride in their heritage on Cinco de Mayo by wearing the colors of the Mexican flag. The call to action came from Ben Reed of KFTA/La Fantastica 970 – who prompted more than 50 students to sport the colors.
Reed’s call to action came after a student charged that a teacher threw away his Mexican flag after it was confiscated during PE. The teacher said he didn’t have any pockets, and “put it in the garbage can for safekeeping. ” The student said the instructor had a pattern of making racist comments.
Reed told the Twin Falls Times-News that racial tension has been rising in the area in recent years.
“There is a lot of racial tension in the area,” he told the paper. “I have seen it escalate the past couple of years, and it’s reaching a fever pitch.”
Reed did not respond to an e-mail from Idaho Radio News seeking comment.
The school previously cut funding for its English as a Second Language program – which led the program’s teacher to make a statement of his own last Tuesday.
The program cut was a factor again this week when ESL teacher Dan Luker, who has resigned rather than be assigned elsewhere, heard about the flag incident and responded by desecrating an American flag in the office of a school administrator on Tuesday.
Luker appeared on Reed’s program Wednesday to apologize for stepping on the flag.