New assistant superintendent to handle diversity, equity issues in Davis School District

Dec 6, 2021, 6:42 PM | Updated: 8:21 pm

FARMINGTON, Utah – The Davis School District has hired a new assistant superintendent over diversity and equity following a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that revealed widespread racial harassment. 

Doctor Jacqueline Thompson is just the first of many new hires to come for a new Office of Equal Opportunity.

A consultant, director, and 35 cultural liaisons will all work to make sure issues of racism and discrimination are better handled, and prevented.

You’ve likely heard the stories a Black teen who was dragged after a school bus door closed on his backpack, and more recently, claims that 10-year-old Izzy Tichenor killed herself in response to bullying about her race and autism. 

Thompson told KSL her new role will be to make sure students are heard and concerns are handled. 

“Kind of saddened that we’re still dealing with this in 2021, not recognizing the magnitude of what has come out,” Dr. Thompson said. “But I think with an office of equal opportunity, then we have more eyes and more people being aware of it.” 

Thompson is not new to these issues. She recently worked with the NAACP and Utah Black Roundtable through the Department of Justice investigation. 

She also recently helped the Davis School District with their Future Leaders of Color program and retired in 2018 as the director over education equity. 

“Your voices are important, that we do not want you to feel that you have no place to go, or that no one is listening. We are here. We are listening. We are concerned,” she explained. 

In addition to dealing with complaints, Thompson said there will be a concerted effort to teach and train prevention. 

It all coincides with guidelines from the Department of Justice and deadlines they’ve put in place over the next five years. 

“But we would like to have this systemically, so that when five years have come and gone, that we’re still operating under the guidance that they have given us. It’s going to strengthen us. It’s going to help generations to come,” Thompson said.

She recognized these changes may require a major shift from how those issues are seen and handled now. 

“We find out that it is our diversity that enriches us and our commonalities that bring us closer together. So, with this focus on culture, we can be proactive.” 

Thompson said complaints of mistreatment will be handed to school principals and on up to her office to make sure they’ll be investigated, and that students and parents will hear back in a timely manner. 

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New assistant superintendent to handle diversity, equity issues in Davis School District