Page school district superintendent rescinds resignation

October 26, 2021 GMT

PAGE, Ariz. (AP) — The superintendent of the Page Unified School District who resigned after allegedly making a racist remark at a school board meeting now intends to stay on the job.

Larry Wallen resigned Sunday but notified the district early Tuesday that he changed his mind, the district posted on its Facebook page.

Phoenix TV station CBS 5 reported that parents in the far northern Arizona school district that borders the Navajo Nation allege Wallen called Indigenous students “brown kids” in a discussion about how to address a shortage of teachers and other faculty members.

The discussion at the Oct. 19 school board meeting included having more virtual teachers in the classroom with the help of a classroom assistant, rather than having the teachers physically at the school. One parent asked how that would affect student performance, and alleged Wallen responded by suggesting “brown kids” in the district will struggle.

Wallen has served as superintendent for less than two years in the district where the majority of students are Native American. Wallen said he’s embarrassed following the allegations and apologized for “creating this kind of disharmony.”

“What most people don’t know is my whole family is Navajo,” Wallen told CBS 5. “My wife’s Navajo, my grandkids are Navajo, my son’s Navajo,” Wallen said. “And to think that I would make racist remarks is ... after 35 years on Navajo, is very unforgiving.”