SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert and Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson reacted Friday to "numerous reports" of students being harassed across the state since Election Day, saying they will not accept bullying behavior.
"Harassment of any kind is not to be tolerated. These reported actions go strongly against American principles," Herbert and Dickson said in a statement. "Any form of bullying is inappropriate and can be extremely detrimental to the quality education Utah espouses. Every report of this type of behavior should be taken seriously by educators and parents."
The statement was released two days after Granite School District said on Twitter that it had received "a handful of reports (of) students being harassed as a result of the election outcome." Those students were chiefly Hispanic or Muslim, a spokesman later said.
"No student in our schools should be made to feel unsafe or intimidated," the district said in another tweet, asking witnesses to report such incidents.
Herbert and Dickson asked parents, students and school employees to be vigilant in reporting any instances of harassment.
"In Utah, we care about each other. As a community, we need to come together in supportive and safe environments," they said in their statement. "We encourage students to reach out in friendship and support to others, including those who may look, sound or think differently than themselves. As a nation, we need more kindness, and we believe Utah can lead the way."
Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton said Friday that she is also concerned about reports that "minority children are being bullied since the election results were announced."
"Other children have said things like, 'Now you're going to get deported,' or 'Go back to your country,'" Newton said in a statement posted online. "I am sick about this. All of us parents need to have conversations with our kids and make sure it's clear that it's not OK to do."
Tensions have been running high in Utah since Donald Trump was elected president following one of the most hostile contests in American history.
On Thursday, thousands of protestors marched to the state Capitol in a show of defiance to Trump. Several hundred people also gathered for an anti-Trump rally Wednesday at the Salt Lake City-County Building.