Classroom built for ‘nonwhite students’ didn’t violate policy

William Penn Elementary in Millcreek on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. A teacher at the school in July said she had decorated her classroom with images of people of color and stocked her classroom library with books largely featuring children and adults of color.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

A video posted on a teacher’s personal social media account in which she stated her classroom was “built for nonwhite students” did not violate district policy or state law, a Granite School District investigation has determined.

The newly hired fourth-grade teacher at William Penn Elementary School in Millcreek has been on paid leave since late August while district officials investigated statements made on the video, which came to their attention the first week of school.

In the video posted in July, the teacher said: “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.”

According to the school district’s statement released Thursday, the investigation focused on whether there was an unsafe environment for students and if any district policies had been violated.

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“Specifically, we have found no instances of discrimination of any kind within the employee’s classroom or students. Additionally, we have found no evidence that the employee taught any unapproved curriculum or shared inappropriate content or materials,” the statement said.

The statement notes that employees, on their own time and in their personal lives, have free speech rights.

However, the investigation “did find cause for corrective action and we have disciplined the employee as appropriate and consistent with the findings of that investigation. In accordance with state law, we do not share specifics related to individual personnel matters,” according to the statement.

The district declined to name the employee, due to “multiple threats being levied against the employee, the school and the district,” the statement said.

“We also anticipate a transfer of this employee to another location within the district that has yet to be determined,” it said.

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Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

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