Park City teacher on leave after having class read anti-Trump lyrics
A teacher at Treasure Mountain Junior High School was placed on leave after, parents say, she had her class read lyrics from an Eminem song that attacks President Trump on May 23.
Melinda Colton, spokesperson for the Park City School District, said on Thursday that district administrators were reviewing the situation. Colton did not confirm the name of the teacher but referred to her as a female.
“We are aware of something that was done in class that was not appropriate,” she said. “We are in the process right now of reviewing that.”
According to Stephanie Crosby, whose eighth-grade daughter was in the class, the teacher had her students read the lyrics of the song “Like Home” in class while she was teaching a unit on poetry.
The lyrics refer to President Trump and call him an Aryan, a bigot and a Nazi. Crosby said that some students asked to leave the classroom while the lyrics were being read, including Crosby’s daughter.
Crosby said four students left in total. Crosby immediately reported the incident to Emily Sutherland, who is the principal of Treasure Mountain Junior High, David Gomez, who is the interim superintendent of the district, and Tim McConnell, who is the associate superintendent of human resources. Soon after, the district placed the teacher on leave.
Neither Gomez nor McConnell replied to requests for comment.
Crosby said Sutherland told her that the lyrics were read during a lesson about bias. Sutherland informed her that the teacher was planning to have the class read another poem to contrast “Like Home.” Crosby said, however, that the words in the song were overly hateful for the lesson.
Colton said that the district heard from a few more concerned parents over the course of the week. She said that it’s standard practice when incidents are reported for the district to take a teacher out of the classroom while it reviews information. There was no estimated date for a decision about reinstating the teacher or about possible repercussions for her.
“At this point, we are trying to give everybody the benefit of the doubt,” Colton said. “We are trying to address the concerns that parents have, and we are also trying to look at the teacher’s perspective and why she did what she did. … We’ve got to get to the bottom of that.”
Colton said that if parents are ever concerned about what is being taught in the classroom, they should speak to the teacher first. If the teacher has not satisfied their concerns, they should bring their questions to the principal.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.