EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Davis School District explains how it’ll improve handling of racism investigations

Dec 6, 2021, 5:45 PM | Updated: Feb 23, 2023, 1:25 pm
FILE- Davis County School District headquarters. Photo: KSLTV...
FILE- Davis County School District headquarters. Photo: KSLTV

FARMINGTON, Utah — The Davis School District introduced a familiar face to help stamp out the culture of racism that the Department of Justice says is prevalent in its schools. Dr. Jackie Thompson, the woman in charge of implementing these changes, says it will be hard work. However, she is excited to do it.

Racism in Davis School District

In October, the DOJ released its findings from an investigation into serious accusations of racism within Davis School District campuses.  They found that students of color were frequently called the n-word, or other racial slurs, many times in front of teachers or other faculty members.  The report also found harassment rose whenever teachers addressed slavery in history class.  The family of Izzy Tichenor claims repeated bullying about her skin color and her autism led to Izzy taking her own life.

One of the main complaints against the district was that reports of racism fell on deaf ears, with the faculty doing very little to punish the offenders.  However, Thompson, the newly-appointed assistant superintendent, says new rules will ensure the claims aren’t brushed aside as single incidents.

“If a parent has a complaint, and they have gone to the teacher, the teacher must report it to the principal, right away,” she told KSL. 

Incidents will be reported to proper officials

Dr. Jacqueline Thompson has been appointed as an assistant superintendent for Davis School District. Photo credit: Davis School District.

Thompson says parents can take their complaints directly to the principal if they feel they need to.  Plus, principals must now bring every incident to the proper officials within the DSD.  The district is hiring more employees who are specifically trained to look into accusations of racism.

“We’ll have 35 cultural liaisons who will be either administrators, like principals or vice-principals, or other staff. And they will help us with the investigation of the complaints,” she said.

Thompson acknowledges dealing with racism will be tricky, at times.  The Cache County School District Board of Education received heated criticism for showing the video for the song “400 Years” during an anti-racism assembly. It was later determined to be inappropriate.  Critics of the video believe it shames white students for their skin color while depicting every police officer as inherently evil.

Thompson says shaming students of any demographic could backfire, and it shouldn’t be part of their discussions.

“There is no guilt, blame, and shame. We’re all looking to be a part of the solution,” she said.

“REACH”

Thompson advocates the training that comes with a program called “REACH,” or “Respecting Ethnic and Cultural Heritage.” She says REACH addresses five major keys to address racial tension.  They include:

  • Multiple perspectives
  • Culture is something everybody has
  • Building cultural bridges
  • Head, hearts, and hands for healing
  • Cold responsibility

Thompson says it’s important to show how diversity enriches a community, while highlighting commonalities brings a community together.

“We must teach accurate history, but we must teach it so that we can learn from the past to ensure the future and go forward and be part of the solution, today,” she said.

Read more:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Education + Schools

An attempt to ban books in Utah has been met with someone trying to ban the bible....
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: Would we need to ban books in school if parents just parented?

Are these attempts to ban books about the books or the parenting? Amanda Dickson explores what happens if parents parented.
20 hours ago
Salt Lake County Health and partners team up to help make Utah kids safe through the SafeUT Safe Ki...
Waverly Golden

SafeUT Safe Kids Fair, helps keep Utah kids safe

Salt Lake County Health and partners team up to help make Utah kids safe through the SafeUT Safe Kids Fair.
3 days ago
An unknown person has requested the Bible be pulled from school libraries in Davis County. Dave and...
Curt Gresseth

Should the Bible be banned from school libraries?

An unknown person has requested the Bible be pulled from school libraries in Davis County. Dave and Dujanovic with a school district spokesman and a state senator.
3 days ago
children at an assembly pictured, how do we set kids up for success ?...
Samantha Herrera

Creating a different framework for children’s success

One author says the framework for children's futures is in need of a replacement. How can we set our children up for success?
3 days ago
kindergarten students pictured, full-day kindergarten now an option...
Samantha Herrera and Kate Davis

Utah Board of Education says full-day kindergarten benefits students’ futures

The Utah Board of Education says full-day kindergarten can help students receive support for learning gaps in a way that half-day kindergarten does not.
3 days ago
usu sign is pictured, a lawsuit has been filed against the school...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

USU grad files lawsuit against university for racist caricature

USU released a statement about the lawsuit and said the school followed its non-discrimination policy when the student initially made the complaint.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...
BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.
Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a new winter activity? Try skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five common causes of Cervical Cancer – and what you can do to lower your risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get ready for fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 easy Christmas dinner ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Davis School District explains how it’ll improve handling of racism investigations