The 90 minutes that cost Principal Ford White his job

Feb 5, 2020, 5:21 AM
Ford White West High Principal...
Former principal Ford White talks with Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic on KSL NewsRadio, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (Colby Walker | KSL NewsRadio)
(Colby Walker | KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Just days after announcing through his attorney that he had been fired, former West High School principal Ford White is telling his side of the story.

He was placed on administrative leave and subsequently let go from his position after the Salt Lake School District said White drove students home after he found them drinking or intoxicated on the school’s campus.

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

The district’s decision to place White on leave was deeply unpopular with the student body at West High. Students organized a walk-out to show their support for White.

“That was special. I would have preferred they stay in class or maybe done it after school or something, but it was an amazing sight,” White told Dave and Dujanovic on KSL NewsRadio. “I didn’t realize, I guess, the magnitude of the impact that possibly my everyday occurrences were having with him with them.”

A complicated situation

White says his time away from West High has been tough ever since he made the six-block drive to return three students to their homes.

“If this was the only thing I had to deal with that day, there would have been six different solutions to that for sure,” White said. “And we would have had the resources and the opportunity and time to handle in a different light because I’ve done it 100 times before.”

White says that on the day in question, the intoxicated students were just one of many things that he was dealing with.

“I wasn’t even going planning on being in that day,” he said.

White says that he had been working over the weekend attending a conference and planned to take the day off. Due to a shortage of administrators, White decided to go in after all.

Once he got to school, he says that he received a notification from the Safe UT app that a student reported that one of their friends was suicidal. One of White’s assistant principals had also found what he called “pretty ominous” referencing a threat to themselves, and the student body.

In addition to that, White says, they also had a former student that had injured a teacher trespassing on the campus.

It was in the wake of that trespassing situation that White says the events transpired that led him to drive those students home.

West High School students walk out in support of principal

Ford White: district is silent

In the months since that point, White says he hasn’t had the chance to speak with anyone at the Salt Lake City School District.

“I was never talked to, never had a chance to, face-to-face, discuss anything,” White says.

White says the only communication that he has had with the district has been over email.

“I’m hoping that I’m not jeopardizing a hearing opportunity,” White tells Dave and Dujanovic.

“It’s been, it’s been a long time. And I’ve waited and been very patient… It’s been a one-sided story to this point and [which] ultimately leaves me the only option to help other people understand that even when everybody thinks their intentions for the care of children is the best way angle to go, it’s open to a lot of interpretation. And I’m willing to allow the public to decide.”

More to the story

You can hear the full conversation that Dave and Dujanovic had with former Principal Ford White and his recollection of events in the podcast below.

You can hear Dave and Dujanovic live on the radio Monday-Thursday from 9 am – 11 am on KSL NewsRadio 102.7 FM.



Live Mic‘s Lee Lonsberry spoke with Principal White’s Attorney Michael Teter

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