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Utah teacher who touted classroom 'built for non-white students' now on leave

A spokesman for the school district said the teacher's comments were "very disconcerting and she has been placed on leave while the district investigates the matter."

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Joshua Young Youngsville North Carolina
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The fourth grade Salt Lake City, Utah teacher who posted a video on social media in August bragging about how her classroom was "built for non-white students" has been placed on administrative leave.

Spokesman for the Granite School District, Ben Horsley, released a statement and said the teacher's comments were "very disconcerting and she has been placed on leave while the district investigates the matter," local news reports.

The unnamed teacher, sporting dyed red hair, taught at William Penn Elementary within the Granite School District and originally posted her video on social media.

"For the first time in my life," she said, "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 added that she had made an effort to limit representation of white kids in the materials she presents to students, which extended into coloring books where "not a single one with a person on it depicts a white person or character."

The maroon maned educator also said that literature was "kind of dominated by straight, CIS white men" but her library "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 have like books or nonbinary, trans, otherwise LGBTQ characters."

"I feel like some parents might have something to say about that," she concluded, citing her "experience with posh, white parents."

The teacher removed the video and apologized but an investigation was launched by the school district to see if any policies had been violated. William Penn Elementary principal Dr. Nichole Higgins released a statement on Sunday reiterating that she was personally committed to "ensure every student feels safe and welcome," adding that it is "inappropriate for any employee to make students feel unwelcome in any way, shape or form."

Spokesman Horsley said, "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. 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."

No final decisions have been made and she is on paid leave.

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