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Rolly: After Alta High incident, racial sensitivity is high

Published September 9, 2011 5:09 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

When Alta High School had its traditional intra-squad football game last month in preparation for the regular season, Canyons School District Superintendent David Doty was aghast that posters at the school promoted the event as the "Black vs. White" game, with each squad wearing a different school color.

While Alta's colors actually are black and silver with a red accent, the use of "black and white" was intended to reflect the colors of the school. But Doty saw an element of racism and had the posters removed.

Doty has been particularly sensitive about perceptions at Alta since an incident last year when students at a pep rally were encouraged to wear either black, white or red to reflect their particular class. One of the "white-wearing" students also wore a hood, and there were complaints about a Ku Klux Klan connotation.

Administrators at the school were disciplined; one retired and another was transferred. The transferred administrator has filed a grievance.

Doty, in an email to one booster who complained about the removal of the "Black vs. White" posters, said "this focus on black vs. white in school athletic events, assemblies, and other activities had led to a culture in the school where kids and adults were justifying racist actions based on the fact that such divisions were encouraged and tolerated by the school. Therefore, we thought it best, at least for the time being, to eliminate all such terminology from school events."

Divine intervention • The LDS Church single-handedly has made next year's Republican State Convention a little less contentious.

Sure, the party's vice chairman and secretary still might make comments that make the establishment GOP cringe, and Sen. Orrin Hatch still might get a serious challenge from somebody hopping around on a stick horse and wearing a pointy Paul Revere hat.

But fireworks in the race for the Utah attorney general nomination have been doused with holy water.

Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, who has been saying for months he plans to run for attorney general, has changed his mind and will run for nothing other than re-election to his state Senate seat.

That's because he recently was made a bishop in his LDS ward in Orem.

Valentine was poised to run against John Swallow, deputy to current Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who has said he will not run for re-election.

A Valentine-Swallow race would have been a tough one, with both carrying some clout in the Utah GOP.

A side note: Swallow, who had narrowly lost a congressional race to Democrat Jim Matheson in 2002, was made an LDS bishop in 2003, but that didn't stop him from running again for Congress in 2004, losing for a second time to Matheson.

Guilt by association? • The world of Twitter can be confusing for someone still lamenting the demise of the old IBM typewriter.

When poking fun at the Twitter group @abetterutah for its parody and harassment of the progressive Twitter group @betterutah, I mentioned another Twitter group, @utleg, which forwarded the first group's insults of the progressive group to its followers.

If you think that's confusing, just think how I feel.

I assumed the @utleg group was a group of our esteemed Utah legislators. It is not.

It is an automated Twitter account frolicking in anonymity in the cyber netherworld.

So my apologies to the Legislature, which is innocent this time.

prolly@sltrib.com facebook.com/paulrolly