Utah father outraged after teacher compares his son, 12, to Kim Jong-un

Utah father outraged after teacher compares his son, 12, to Kim Jong-un
via ABC4 Utah, Kremlin.ru (CC BY 4.0)
Bryan Ke
November 6, 2023
A father from Utah County in Utah has expressed outrage after a teacher compared his sixth-grade son to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in front of the class.
What happened: The incident occurred at Lake Mountain Middle School in Saratoga Springs, Utah, on Oct. 24 when the middle school teacher displayed a picture of Kim Jong-un and asked the class if the North Korean dictator looked similar to the 12-year-old boy, the father, who wished to remain anonymous, told KUTV.
The humiliating incident reportedly incited laughter from other students in the classroom.
Key details: Speaking to ABC4, the father, who moved to the U.S. from Japan to study at college, noted that the boy only told him about what happened a week later.
He noticed that his son suffered stomach problems during that week, which he believed was caused by the stress from the incident.
What the officials said: In an email sent to the father, which he showed to the media, the school principal confirmed that the teacher was disciplined for their action and would be made to apologize in front of the class. The email also said the school had already discussed race and discrimination with the staff.
Kimberly Bird, a representative for the Alpine School District, said in a statement to ABC4 that the school district has a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination and that these “types of accusations are dealt with quickly and in accordance with district policy.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Utah State Board of Education, who was unaware of the case, emphasized Title Six of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects individuals from discrimination based on their race, color and national origin, KUTV reported.
Past incidents: The father also recalled similar incidents of racism his children have encountered at school in the past, including other students making fun of them by calling their food “dog meat” or describing their eyes as “squinty.”
Condemning the incident: Jeanetta Williams, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Salt Lake Branch, strongly condemned the incident by stating that what happened to the boy was “humiliating.”
“A teacher or anyone pointing out a student’s ethnicity to make fun of and ridiculing should not be in that profession,” Williams wrote in a Facebook post. “This type of racism is conscious and intentional and should never be tolerated.”
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