Utah Teacher Who Said Classroom Is ‘Built For Non-White Students’ Placed On Leave

The district called the teacher's comments "very disconcerting."
TOPSHOT - Families participate in a children's march in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and national protests against police brutality on June 9, 2020 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. - George Floyd will be laid to rest Tuesday in his Houston hometown, the culmination of a long farewell to the 46-year-old African American whose death in custody ignited global protests against police brutality and racism.Thousands of well-wishers filed past Floyd's coffin in a public viewing a day earlier, as a court set bail at $1 million for the white officer charged with his murder last month in Minneapolis. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
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A teacher in Utah who said her classroom is “built for non-white students” has been placed on paid leave while the school district investigates.

The teacher, who teaches fourth grade at William Penn Elementary School in Millcreek just south of Salt Lake City, posted the problematic video on social media.

“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 non-white students,” the teacher said in the video.

She went on to note that there are “no white kids represented” in many of her classroom materials. Of the coloring pages she gives to students, “not a single one with a person on it depicts a white person or character,” she said.

“So just on, like, 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,” the teacher added.

Literature “is kind of dominated by straight, cis white men,” so her classroom library does include “a good deal” of them, she said.

“But it is overpowered now from all the books that I’ve been purchasing to add on to my library that depict a lot of diverse peoples, whether that’s people of color, or I have, like, books or nonbinary, trans, otherwise LGBTQ characters,” the teacher assured.

“I feel like some parents might have something to say about that, if my experience with posh, white parents in the past holds true for this year. We’ll see,” she said.

The district called the teacher’s comments “very disconcerting” in a statement.

“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,” Ben Horsley, spokesman for the Granite School District, said in the statement.

“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.

The teacher has since deleted the video and apologized for her comments, according to the principal of William Penn Elementary.

The principal said in a statement on Sunday that it is her “personal commitment” to “ensure every student feels safe and welcome.” She added that it is “inappropriate for any employee to make students feel unwelcome in any way, shape or form.”

According to the school website, over 86% of William Penn Elementary’s 560 students are white.

The teacher’s remarks also sparked outrage within a Granite School District parents Facebook group.

“She deserves to be let go. She isn’t here to teach,” one person commented on a post about the incident that was shared to the group.

“You talk about racism? This is racism right in your face,” commented another Facebook user, who said the teacher should be “fired on the spot and not be anywhere near children.”

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