A Utah elementary school teacher who said that she built her classroom for “non-white students” and had “no white kids represented” in the books and media in the class has been placed on leave.
The fourth grade teacher was newly hired at William Penn Elementary School.
“For the first time in my life, I’m going to be teaching at a majority-white school, and I’m kind of interested to see how students and parents react to my classroom, or if they even notice anything about it, because it’s built for nonwhite students,” the teacher said in the video.
The teacher also said that there are “no White kids represented” within the classroom, even on coloring pages.
SALT LAKE CITY — 4th grade teacher in Utah explains how her classroom “is built for non-white students:”
“If you look around my classroom and you interact with the materials I have, you’ll notice there are no white kids represented…”pic.twitter.com/nfFI6IsY6Q
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 23, 2022
“If you look around and you interact with some of the materials I have, you’ll notice that there’s like, no white kids represented in that,” the teacher said. “So just on like that, that very first level of multicultural education, and I don’t think, like, my new students will mind, but you know, not a single white face there.”
“I feel like some parents might have something to say about that — if my experience with posh, White parents holds true for this year. We’ll see,” she concluded.
Ben Horsley, spokesman for the Granite School District, said in a statement obtained by local station KSL that the comments made by the teacher “are very disconcerting and she has been placed on leave while the district investigates the matter.”
“It would be in violation of our district policies and state board rule to teach anything other than the approved curriculum and standards or to discriminate against any student,” Horsley continued. “As soon as our investigation is complete, we anticipate taking appropriate corrective action. We know that our role as educators is to support parents and the families we serve and we value our parents and their engagement in our schools and classrooms.”
Horsley added that their goal is to make sure every student “feels welcome and is not discriminated against in any way, shape or form, that every child is brought into a welcoming and safe environment.”
The spokesman said that he did not have an estimate on how long the investigation will take.
The district does have a rule that all educators must provide the district with their social media information.
The social media policy states that “it is important that teachers be cognizant of their presence and any interactions with students, parents and others on social media.”
The policy also provides examples of “how to leverage the use of social media in school in appropriate ways.”
KSL noted that in June 2021, the Utah State Board of Education passed a rule that prohibits instruction or professional training by a school district or charter school “that promotes or endorses that a student or educator’s sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or membership in any other protected class is inherently superior or inferior to another sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected class.”
The rule also prohibits teaching that “a student or educator bears responsibility for the past actions of individuals from the same sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected class as the student or educator.”