Superintendent makes statement amid West High principal’s suspension

Local News

Students congregate at the front doors during a walkout at West High School in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (Chris Samuels/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The Salt Lake City School District superintendent wrote a letter to the West High School community amid recent controversy involving its principal.

Hundreds of students walked out of class on Monday to protest the decision to put Principal Ford White on administrative leave.

The students said he was suspended after he decided to drive home students who had been drinking alcohol rather than report them to police.

The district would only confirm that it is investigating an incident but would not address the students’ claims.

Superintendent Dr. Lexi Cunningham assured the community Thursday that the investigation, which is still ongoing, is based on “a situation where students were put at risk and their well-being was not looked after properly.”

Read the entire letter below.

Dear West High School community,   

I wanted to take a moment to address some of the concerns I’ve heard among the West High community this week.    

As most of you know, Principal Ford White was placed on paid administrative leave on Friday, November 15th following an incident involving West High students. While this investigation is still ongoing and I cannot openly discuss the particulars, I feel it is important to make sure you know that our primary concern in any student-related incident will always be student safety and well-being. This is the lens through which the district’s investigation is being conducted.  

I know you’ve heard versions in the media this week of what may have happened; remember this is not complete information. This was never about seeking disciplinary or legal action against students. We are were faced with investigating a situation where students were put at risk and their well-being was not looked after properly. Please rest assured that we are looking into every detail that has been brought to our attention, including the actions of all involved.  

Thank you for your continued patience while we wait for our investigation to conclude. I know it may be frustrating that we cannot share with you the details of this investigation or the incident that triggered it. But I also know you share my commitment to our students’ welfare. I want to thank our West High School teachers and staff, who have helped our students remain focused on learning during this trying week.   

We may never be able to publicly share all the details of this investigation or of the incident in question, but moving forward, I will personally provide you with any important updates. I have always known the West High School community to be an engaging and involved group, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as your superintendent.  

Thank you again for your support and dedication to West High School.  


Dr. Lexi Cunningham 
Salt Lake City School District 

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