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Parents Call For Action After Librarian Seen Reading Racial Slur To Students

ROY, Utah – Parents of students at Sand Ridge Junior High School are seeking answers after a video showing a librarian reading aloud a racial slur in class surfaced on social media.

The Weber School District said the incident happened in November 2020 and has since been addressed, but parents who are seeing the video for the first time weren’t so sure.

A parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, told KSL TV her son left the classroom after letting the librarian know he was uncomfortable with her reading the n-word out loud. She sent the video to the Black Lives Matter Northern Utah chapter in hopes of starting a conversation that would bring about change.

Jacarri Kelley, president of BLM Northern Utah, posted it on the organization’s Instagram account and is in touch with the family.

“I think it’s disturbing that there is not a written policy that this word should not be said. It’s a triggering word, it is a traumatizing word,” Kelley said.

The district said the novel, “Warriors Don’t Cry” by Melba Pattillo Beals, was being read as part of a class project. They released a statement to KSL that said:

“While reading to the class, the librarian said aloud the “n-word” as it was written in text. Usually, teachers will not read aloud words or phases that may be considered offensive to others. There was a student in the class who objected to the word being said, and apparently the incident was also recorded by a student.

“The school’s administration addressed the situation with the librarian. She felt really bad about what had occurred, and came up with a very creative way to make it up to the class. She personally reached out to Ms. Beals and arranged for her to speak to all of the students in the 9th grade English classes via an interactive Zoom meeting. Ms. Beals spoke with the students about her experiences and even conducted a Q&A with them. It turned out to be a very positive, learning experience for everyone involved.

“As far as we are concerned, the situation has been addressed.”

Kelley argued the solution the school came up with doesn’t rectify the situation, and she wants to see change that will address student concerns.

“They are feeling dismissed and disrespected and they are traumatized,” she said. “They don’t know how to deal with their feelings.”

She hopes by sharing the video on social media it can serve as a teaching moment for not only the school but also the community.

“By this happening, knowing how upset the public is, it’s an opportunity for the school to do it right,” Kelley said.

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