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Glendale elementary school principal removed after anti-Semitic and racist texts surface

"I don’t like to get involved in exactly what we do just out of confidentiality for any employee. That is the decision and we need to move forward.”
Credit: 12 News

PHOENIX — The principal of a Glendale elementary school was removed from his position Monday after anti-Semitic and racist texts between him and a former employee were posted on social media. 

Former school event coordinator Danielle Elkin posted on her Facebook page a screenshot of texts between Heritage Elementary Charter School Principal Justin Dye, her sister Brittnay and herself from late January. 

The texts are a series of insensitive jokes about being black and Jewish. 

Elkin is Jewish and the mother of a 7-month-old biracial son. The screenshots show she responded jokingly to Dye's texts and made some racial comments herself. 

"I've made mistakes along the way, and not been perfect, but all I can do it is try to be better for my son, and to speak out even if it puts me in a hard position also," said Elkin. 

Elkin worked for the school for seven years and left the school in February. She tells 12 News that she and Dye were friends and she had conversations with him about his anti-Semitic and racist humor being inappropriate. 

She wrote on her Facebook:

"I thought long and hard before posting this, but I couldn’t be silenced anymore and continue to accept such casual racism and anti-Semitic comments in my life, for Ezra and me, to my grandparents, and Holocaust survivors.

Here is to my handsome black baby.

Here is to quitting a job at an elementary school, where the secretary thought it was necessary to note the race of the family taking a tour of the school to the principal. And seeing “nice white family” written on a Post-it.

Here’s to raising better kids that don’t write that kind of thing.

Here’s to not working at a job where you are constantly oppressed for being a woman, and Jewish.

Here is to finally saying enough is enough, and not being scared to go into work every day to a racist and oppressive environment.

Here is to being tired of having to report to a prejudice administration. “As admin,” Cindy Mendoza, you should have known better. 

Here is to not working at Heritage Elementary.

Here is to not working for a man that writes these texts.

12 News spoke with Jackie Trujillo, Heritage superintendent. Trujillo told us these issues never came to her as a formal complaint but that after the public post, she took action right away regarding Dye. 

“He’s not there at the school anymore, so I don’t like to get involved in exactly what we do just out of confidentiality for any employee. That is the decision and we need to move forward,” said Trujillo. 

Trujillo acknowledged that the former principal is someone who is well-liked within the Heritage community. She says she was given names by Danielle Elkin to collaborate on what Elkins says are issues of racism in the school. However, Trujillo says those people are not providing information to back up her claims. 

The superintendent says conversations surrounding racism and anti-Semitism are important topics being discussed across the nation and it’s something she plans to address within her staff. 

Trujillo says the Heritage Charter schools address the topics of racism and anti-Semitism within their social and emotional learning curriculum. She says especially in today’s climate, they will be integrating those topics in a much larger way in the academic year but gave no specifics. 

12 News has reached out several times to Justin Dye for comment but has yet to hear back. 

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