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Utah junior high school employee placed on leave following racial allegation, district says

Posted at 5:54 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 18:18:36-04

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah — An employee at a Salt Lake County junior high school was placed on leave following an allegation that the individual used a racial slur while talking to students.

A statement from the Granite School District stated that administration at Bennion Junior High School received an allegation about the employee Thursday.

The allegation accused the employee of using a racial slur while they were "conversing with a group of students," a statement from district officials reads.

The employee was placed on administrative leave while a "rigorous investigation" is completed, according to the school district.

Rae Duckworth with the Black Lives Matter Utah chapter said she spent Thursday on the phone discussing these claims with the Department of Justice.

Read - Utah student speaks out about alleged racial discrimination by school leader

“These brilliant children are so smart and empowering and the youth is the future and they’re having to deal with racism,” she said.

She said internal investigations done by the school district are not enough.

“It breaks my heart a little bit to hear that they’re dealing with racism but its not even from their peers. It’s not from someone their age it’s from someone who is supposed to be setting an example and providing security and education to the child,” she said.

Duckworth is proud of the students who were not afraid to speak up.

“Power to you. You guys are the youth and you’re doing better than adults,” she said. “I’m proud of you. And if I could do anything to aid that amplification I would do anything I can.”

School District officials emphasized that the district does not tolerate any types of derogatory terms.

"The Granite School District does not condone or tolerate the use of any type of derogatory terms or racial slurs in any form or context," the statement reads in part. "The Granite District is proud to serve a diverse community of children and families. Our ongoing commitment is to ensure all of our schools and classrooms are safe and inclusive."

Details such as what was said to the students and the identity of the employee was not made available.