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Former West High School Principal To Defend Education License In Hearing

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It has been a long year for former West High School principal Ford White. But Thursday morning, he’ll finally have the hearing about his educator’s license he’s been waiting for. 

“When you’re talking about your state license and you’re talking about the ability to provide for your family, that’s important,” said White. 

White was the principal at West last year when he decided to drive three students who appeared to be intoxicated home, with another teacher following him, instead of calling police.

That decision cost him his job. 

“I just think that there are well-intentioned meaningful people out there who are trying to do the very best they can in difficult circumstances,” said White.

He said he believed he was doing the right thing because of Utah House Bill 239.

That bill changed the way schools respond to student incidents, where, instead of involving police and the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline,” they use a program designed to help minors take responsibility for their actions.

The bill aims to reduce school suspensions and court referrals, but White is concerned his case will cause teachers and principals to think twice when in similar challenging circumstances.

“Now, future educators will feel like they can’t make a mistake, they can’t use their ethics and their morals to guide a situation,” he said.

White isn’t sure what will happen during his hearing with the Utah Board of Education, but he hopes those in charge of ultimately deciding his fate will see he was only trying to help his students.

“The intent was to ensure that kids were taken care of,” said White. “And at the end of the day, after lots of things were happening, all kids got home to their families safely.”

White’s hearing begins at 9 a.m. Thursday and will continue Friday at 9 a.m.

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