Former West High Principal will defend education license in front of advisory committee


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News)— Former West High School Principal Ford White is working to clear his name as he says he is being punished for practicing restorative justice.

Thursday morning, White says The Utah Professional Practice Advisory Committee (UPPAC) will have a closed hearing to discuss his education license.

“The Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission will review my conduct and decide whether to take further action against me,” White said.

Last year, Ford White was first suspended then terminated by the Salt Lake City School District. The District says White did not follow protocol when dealing with intoxicated students. White says he was practicing restorative justice when he drove two students home who appeared to be intoxicated on campus instead of notifying authorities.

Hundreds of students at West High, walked out of class protesting the districts decision to terminate White.

White and his attorney appealed the termination and White says the district ultimately agreed not to terminate his employment, pay him out ‪through June 30, which was the end of his contract, and not renew his contract with the district.

White says before he and the district signed an NDA, the district filed a complaint with UPPAC.
White’s attorneys say it is a round of about way the district trying to push White out of the Utah education system.

“In 2017, Utah enacted House Bill 239, which sought to change the way schools respond to children in need through a restorative justice approach. H.B. 239 is a commitment to our youth that provides clear guidance and a resolute message that our system has failed our children and we must amend ourselves. And as principal, I found my work to be the quintessential tip of the sword in an effort to eliminate the school to prison pipeline,” White said.

“I saw – and continue to see – that our education system fails to treat all children equally. That realization, along with the Legislature’s and School District’s expressed commitment to a new path forward, is why just about a year ago, I responded to inebriated students on campus by returning them home, rather than leading it to law enforcement to handle”.

White says UPPAC could recommend to the State Board of Education suspending his education license for a year.

“I hope the Commission recognizes that my actions furthered the State’s and School District’s expressed commitment to a new way to address problems on campus. They move us towards correcting social injustices and valuing all children. These are noble goals that should serve as the bedrock of our educational system,” White said.

ABC4 reached out to the Salt Lake City School District who stated they had no comment. We also attempted to reach UPPAC who at the time this article was published, had not responded to our request for comment.

White’s hearing is scheduled to last through Friday October 30.

Click here to download the ABC4 Utah News app for the first alerts on your phone. Sign up for the ABC4 Utah breaking news and daily newsletters.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

How to Help During the Holidays

More Toys for Tots