EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

West High School principal fired, Salt Lake City School District says investigation finished

Jan 30, 2020, 6:41 PM | Updated: Jan 31, 2020, 10:11 am
West High principal...
Two unnamed students hold signs at West High as students walked out of class on Tuesday Nov 11th to protest the school's principal being placed on administrative leave. (Photo credit: KSL Newsradio's John Wojcik)
(Photo credit: KSL Newsradio's John Wojcik)

SALT LAKE CITY — The principal of West High School has been fired.

In a statement released by his attorney, Ford White says the Salt Lake City School District informed him it was firing him. This comes after the District said White drove students home after he found them drinking on the school’s campus.

White was initially placed on leave on Nov. 14 after the incident. Now, two months later, White’s lawyer says he’s been fired.

“The District’s investigation never involved meeting with Principal White, however,” Attorney Michael Teter said in a statement. “And, at the same time that it demanded Principal White’s silence, the District has put out numerous releases and statements, spoken to the media, and gone so far as to send multiple alerts to West High School parents via text, email, and robocalls whenever it makes an announcement on the matter.”

Here’s Teter and White’s statement in full:

Earlier today, the Salt Lake City School District informed Principal White that it was terminating him. This action stems from events that occurred during the morning of November 14, 2019, when Principal White encountered three female students who appeared to be sick on campus. Once Principal White determined that they were likely intoxicated, he addressed the matter without resorting to involving the police.
The District placed Principal White on administrative leave the next day and warned him about speaking publicly about the matter while the District spent the next two months investigating. The District’s investigation never involved meeting with Principal White, however. And, at the same time that it demanded principal White’s silence, the District has put out numerous releases and statements, spoken to the media, and gone so far as to send multiple alerts to West High School parents via text, email, and robocalls whenever it makes an announcement on the matter.
The picture of the events of November 14, however, is much more complicated than the District has led the public to believe. They involve real crises and emergent concerns that the District, in its letter terminating Principal White, nonchalantly labeled “fairly routine and typical.” When the public learns more of the day’s context, they will be surprised, if not disturbed, by the District’s view that it considers the events “fairly routine and typical” within its schools. The investigation into Principal White and the news regarding the unexpected and seemingly forced resignations this week of Superintendent Lexi Cunningham and business administrator Janet Roberts show that the District is in disarray. In fact, internal reports from the Salt Lake City School Board suggest that board members have been targeting various principals for firing long before November 14, 2019. More time is needed to assess the role that personal politics played in the District’s action today. Principal White is weighinghis options and carefully considering his next steps.He appreciates the outpouring of support he’s received over the past two months.

 

District says the investigation into West High principal is complete

Salt Lake City School District spokeswoman Yándary Chatwin says the investigation into White was complete, but could not say any more.

“I can’t comment on personnel matters,” Chatwin said. She says White’s employment status is still on administrative leave at this time.

This comes one day after the school’s superintendent resigned, as well as the business administrator.

There was an impromptu meeting of the school board Thursday afternoon. The board convened, read into the record that the superintendent and business administrator had resigned. They did not take any questions.

Additional reading:

West High School gets new interim principal during investigation

West High School students walk out in support of principal

 

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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West High School principal fired, Salt Lake City School District says investigation finished