5 notable Utah education stories of 2017

Monday , January 01, 2018 - 5:15 AM1 comment

ANNE CHRISTNOVICH, Standard-Examiner Staff

It’s been a busy year in Northern Utah schools. As we look back at 2017, here are a few notable stories that came from local districts:

On Oct. 17, Weber School District officials confirmed they launched an investigation into a disturbing video circulation social media, showing five teens shouting racial slurs.

The video was believed to be recorded during fall break of the previous school year. The incident sparked outrage and disappointment among teachers, parents and current and former students. Since then, the district’s investigation concluded but they declined to say what consequences, if any, the students faced and cited student privacy laws

Weber School District is looking into several different options for sensitivity and anti-discrimination training for students and staff, including requiring “To Kill a Mockingbird” as part of English class coursework.

Weber High senior says school's unclear dance dress code was unfairly enforced

Micaela Duran wore a peach floor-length dress and waited to be admitted into prom. But when she got to the door, she was turned away by the principal for a violation of the school’s dress code.

A social media post and dozens of shares later, a robust conversation was happening about enforcement of the dress code, modesty, appearance and, for some, parenting.

Duran argued the school’s policy is enforced too arbitrarily, and that her dress was no more salacious than any other girl’s, including a friend who got in wearing a dress with a similar bust line. 

Roy High teacher on leave after sending home 'questionable' sexuality survey

A survey handed out in a class at Roy High School landed a longtime teacher in trouble in September. The survey was given out in the “Adult Roles” course, which includes instruction in human sexuality and requires parental consent to enroll. The survey she assigned as homework was from a 1981 “Dear Abby” column and included questions about drug use and sexual activity, which is prohibited by federal and state law.

Candace Thurgood was placed on leave but current and former students protested to have the teacher reinstated, arguing the lapse in judgement shouldn’t diminish her years of positive work at the school. Ultimately, the school agreed and reinstated her.

Ogden voters turn back school bond proposal, Weber bond measure passes

Voters in Weber School District adopted a $97 million bond proposal to be used for new school construction and remodeling/renovation projects.

Voters in Ogden School District turned down a $106.5 million bond proposal, citing a lack of specificity and concern over tearing down the old Polk Elementary School in exchange for building a newer school meant to hold double the students.

New Farmington High School gets a mascot

The Farmington Phoenix mascot was introduce without a hitch… at first. Then a parent pointed out that the plural of the bird — “phoenixes” — sounds too much like a piece of male anatomy and began a petition to get the name changed. The story was picked up at news outlets around the country.

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