KAYSVILLE — A principal and teacher at Creekside Elementary have been placed on paid administrative after a student wearing a Nazi costume was allowed to participate in the school’s Halloween parade Thursday.
Davis School District spokesperson Chris Williams confirmed the incident and that the school district is conducting an investigation.
“The Davis School District apologizes for what took place yesterday. It does not tolerate speech, images or conduct that portray or promote hate in any form. The district is taking the matter very seriously and is investigating every aspect of the situation,” the district said in a statement.
A photo of the student wearing the costume appeared in several area Facebook groups Friday morning, including the pages of two Utah chapters of Black Lives Matter. It was shared by a parent who witnessed the incident, according to Lex Scott, leader of Black Lives Matter Utah.
The student is shown wearing khaki pants, a brown shirt, a tie and a red armband with a swastika.
The post claimed the student was also “hailing Hitler” during the parade, but Williams could not confirm this occurred.
“That I have no idea,” Williams said. “That would be part of the investigation.”
Scott reached out to Davis Superintendent Reid Newey about the incident after a the photo was shared in the Black Lives Matter Utah Facebook group.
She and the superintendent emailed and spoke on the phone.
Scott said the the superintendent told her that the school’s principal, Steve Hammer, acted on the issue immediately after becoming aware of it.
In an email to Scott, the superintendent said that the student removed the costume immediately and the parent was contacted by the principal, she said.
“I can’t confirm that. I wasn’t part of that conversation,” Williams said. “I can say that putting someone on paid administrative leave is a standard procedure any time there’s an investigation that goes on, so that doesn’t necessarily mean anything other than what the statement says.”
“I’m fed up with all of the civil rights calls that I’m getting about Davis County (schools),” Scott said. “It never lets up, and it’s like a weekly call or picture or meme from Davis County. ... They say that they’re fixing it, but it’s not fixed.”
JaKai Kelley, leader of Northern Utah Black Lives Matter, said she and other group leadership of the northern chapter had not yet discussed the issue with Davis administrators, but they plan to set up a meeting.
“That would make me not feel safe as a parent,” Kelley said, “if I had seen someone’s kid come to school just like that like it’s OK.”
Kelley said it would make her worry for the safety of her children if one of their peers behaved that way.
Scott’s chapter usually covers the Salt Lake area and southern Utah, while Northern Utah Black Lives Matter covers Davis School District.
Scott doesn’t usually get involved in issues in Northern Utah, though she did work with Davis School District before her chapter and the northern chapter split, she said. She got involved this time because so many issues from Davis and Weber counties have been reported to her.
“Sometimes we have racial issues that come out in the schools, and we get complaints, and it might be a little iffy like ‘you know, that may have been misconstrued’ ... like the black pumpkins they sold at Target,” Scott said. But there’s “no excuse for a student walking into a school with a Nazi costume,” she said, and it shouldn’t have been allowed in the parade. “There are so many chains of command that failed.”
Scott said she’ll watch how the superintendent reacts to this situation and the next civil rights complaint she receives.
“If those civil rights issues are not resolved expeditiously, then the diplomacy will end,” Scott said. “And what I mean by that is that I have not come up there to protest on the lawn of Davis County schools, but I will. And I will have the biggest protest that I’ve ever thrown, and I will do it on the lawn of Davis County School District.”
Scott said she shared this expectation in her email with the superintendent prior to their phone call.
Creekside Elementary is located at 275 W. Mutton Hollow Road in Kaysville. The school serves students in preschool through sixth grade.