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FARMINGTON — The Davis School District promises greater inclusion for all students. A new deputy superintendent stepped in to lead the new district program, under the direction of the US Department of Justice.
The scheme is part of a settlement with the Department of Justice after an investigation found evidence of widespread racial harassment. Trustees said they will need everyone to do their part to make everyone feel included and valued.
Among the cases highlighted by the Justice Department investigation was the case of two black students who were bullied by a bus driver in 2019. Now Dr. Fidel Montero is in charge of leading efforts to ensure that students are not mistreated because of who they are.
“To me, that’s what we do as educators. We create opportunities for kids from all walks of life,” Montero said.
But getting there won’t be easy. Earlier this year, the district launched “No More, Not Here”. It featured videos produced with the help of students. Some parents and students told KSL that the effort seemed too scripted and not focused enough. Montero said that was just a starting point.
“Ultimately, we want to create an environment where everyone walks into our school and feels that kind of sense of presence, a sense of connection, a sense of connection.”
A new reporting system, as well as an equal opportunities office, will help to deal with complaints of discrimination. Montero said everyone will have to get involved whether or not they feel part of the problem.
“No more, not here!” is a Davis School District initiative to combat racism.
“You have to look in the mirror for a minute and say, ‘How can I get better?’ It’s never comfortable. It’s not comfortable for me to say, ‘How can I be a better parent? How can I be a better neighbor? How can I become a better educator?'”
All of this is meant to help gain the trust of students who have been abused so that they feel they can ask for help.
“Our first effort right now is to make sure we have the right safety rails in place,” Montero said.
Some parents have expressed concern that the Justice Department program is in some way an effort to promote critical race theory in schools. Montero said that was not the case at all and hadn’t happened since he started.