Protests Erupt After Long Beach Polytechnic Teacher Placed on Leave

A teacher at the center of the controversy over bestselling novel American Dirt has been placed on paid leave by Long Beach Polytechnic High School.

Myriam Gurba, a Psychology teacher and author, was among the first to raise concerns about the portrayal of Mexican immigrants in Jeanine Cummins’ book. Her criticism sparked a wider discussion about the novel and depictions of Latinos in popular culture.

It was another issue entirely that preceded the decision to place Gurba on leave, however. After students from her high school complained about alleged mistreatment by another teacher, Gurba took to the students’ defense on social media and accused the school of censoring them. She was placed on leave shortly thereafter. The school would not provide information about the decision.

Students held protests on Monday in response. Well-known activist Shaun King also defended Gurba on Twitter.

Read more about the controversy and Monday’s protests at the Los Angeles Times