Governor, State Superintendent issue statement on post-election harassment in Utah schools

File: Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

File: Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson issued a statement Friday condemning harassment, and the statement comes after reports students have been bullied regarding the outcome of the recent elections.

The statement from Herbert and Dickson is below:

“Over the past three days, we have received numerous reports of students throughout Utah being targets of harassment and bullying in our schools. Regardless of the motivation, we do not condone of this type of behavior.

Students should feel safe in school. Harassment of any kind is not to be tolerated. These reported actions go strongly against American principles. Any form of bullying is inappropriate and can be extremely detrimental to the quality education Utah espouses. Every report of this type of behavior should be taken seriously by educators and parents.

In Utah, we care about each other. As a community, we need to come together in supportive and safe environments. We encourage students to reach out in friendship and support to others, including those who may look, sound, or think differently than themselves. As a nation, we need more kindness, and we believe Utah can lead the way.”

The statement says all reports of children being harassed at school should be taken seriously and should be immediately communicated to an administrator. School employees and students are encouraged to report any harassment they observe and are asked to actively promote a positive and safe environment.

Earlier this week, at least two school districts in Utah stated some students, particularly Hispanic and Latino students, had been subjected to bullying or had raised questions about their future in the United States. 

“One of the little kiddos in our elementary school indicated he didn’t think he’d be back at school the next day, and when they asked him why he said, ‘because Donald Trump was elected president I may have to go back to Mexico,” said Jeff Haney, a spokesman for the Canyons School District.

At Kearns High School, some students reported hateful remarks rooted in racism.

“You wetbacks need to go back to Mexico,” one teenage student reported hearing from another student in school.