Salt Lake City School District officials are investigating reports that “racially offensive” comments and threats were exchanged last week at a volleyball game between students from rival teams.
In addition, the district is investigating a verbal confrontation between an after-school-program staff member from Clayton Middle School and a student from Bryant Middle School, according to an email sent to parents of students at both schools Friday.
The junior varsity girls’ volleyball teams, which are made up of seventh- and eighth-graders, faced off on Thursday at Bryant Middle School as part of an after-school program.
In a joint email, Bryant Principal Larry Madden and Clayton Principal Jared Wright say some derogatory comments allegedly were exchanged between students from the rival schools. The administrators are trying to determine exactly what happened, they said, but “some of the comments appear to have been racially offensive in nature.”
“Racism in any form is unacceptable in our schools,” the email says, “and as your principals, we want you to know we are working together to hear from students on both sides of the incident to determine what happened.”
The principals say they have heard that threats have been exchanged between students from Bryant, 40 S. 800 East, and Clayton, 1471 S. 1800 East.
“We have condemned these actions and made clear to our students that such behavior will not be tolerated,” the email says. “While there is not yet a conclusion, we wanted to make sure you, as parents, were made aware of this incident and the steps we are taking to come to a resolution. Our priority is to make sure that all students can come to school in a safe and supportive environment.”
Madden and Wright are encouraging parents to discuss the events with their children and to remind them to use social media wisely.
“While this incident has been a negative experience for many, we hope it can become an important lesson to all our students about the importance of treating every person with dignity, kindness and respect, as well as a reminder that racism in our schools will not be tolerated,” their email says.