West High students stage walkout in support of principal placed on leave

Ford White, principal of Salt Lake City's West High School. Photo: School website

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 19, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Students at Salt Lake City’s West High School staged a walkout Tuesday morning to protest their principal being put on administrative leave.

Principal Ford White was put on leave Thursday after he reportedly found three students on campus who were intoxicated, and gave them a ride home, according to an Instagram post by westhighspan, an account that says it is “strictly for studentz” (sic).

“Ford came across students who were drunk near the school,” the post says. “As far as we know, he helped them get home safely, instead of doing what the district thinks was right (call the cops.)

“Now, Ford is at fault of his actions leading to his situation of leaving,” the post on the student site says. “The standing or ‘replacement’ principal is Ron Litteral, the one who tried to shut down homecoming early. Is this what ‘all really want?”

Litteral is one of several assistant principals, and is over students with last names beginning with letters E through K. Litteral is now serving as acting principal.

The Deseret News obtained a letter reportedly written by a teacher, which shared more about what allegedly happened. According to the account, a teacher saw three students who were intoxicated on the south lawn during third period, which runs 10:25 to 11:25 a.m., according to the school’s website.

A male student was trying to lift a female student onto a bench as another male student was nearby, on the ground.

The teacher wrote that she spoke to White about the students, and he said they seemed fine. The teacher approached the bench and smelled alcohol.

White and Litteral then worked to get the students standing, and suggested the female student get her car to drive the males home, the teacher’s account says.

After the teacher noted the girl had been drinking and should not drive, White reportedly elected to drive the students home in the girl’s car. White was followed in a car driven by Litteral, who gave him a ride back to West High.

Gephardt Daily has reached out to the Salt Lake City School District for a statement, and will add it to this story if provided.

A pre-existing biography by White on the West High website introduces him as the new principal, and says working at the school “has been a decade long journey for me as my dream was to work in an inner city school somewhere in America. This dream has finally been realized” and calls his position “the best job in Utah.”

White’s biographical statement also says he is a Michigan native who served in the United States Marine Corps during the Gulf War.

“My love of teaching drove me to explore a passion discovered as a mentor and teacher leader operating internally to improve student achievement and support teaching and learning.”

To read the full statement (while it is posted), click here. [email protected]

2 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t think a male teacher or any teacher for that matter should be giving students a ride home because they’re drunk. That principle should be put on leave, because what he’s done is contributed to underage drinking, while on campus. That wasn’t the first time those girls are drinking at school, and it’s not going to be the last. What’s the principle to do… give all the students who are breaking the law and drinking underage a ride home? I get he wants to be the “cool” principle, but he definitely crossed the line with the choice he made, and with choices come consequences. The students, should also have consequences for drinking underage, in public, at a high school.

  2. Mr. White was my kids vp before he went to work at West. There was never a doubt that Mr. White cared for my children and wanted them to be good citizens. He and I were on first name basis and often chatted (I had a kiddo who was in his office frequently). He never made my kid feel like he was “bad” just that he could make better choices. He never judged. Kids need an adult in their corner. Ford always ALWAYS was that adult. I remember when he told us he was leaving. I was so sad but saw his excitement in his eyes as he told me this was his dream job. For once I hope the school district does the right thing and sees Ford was being someone these kids could trust and made sure they got home safely for their parents to handle the rest.

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