One Dugway civilian employee is being ordered to move his family off the post within 30 days because of alleged racial slurs made by his children against the children of a black Dugway employee.
Nine other employees will receive letters warning them that "one more incident and they'll be asked to leave," said Dugway Public Affairs Officer Kathy Whitaker. She wouldn't release the employees' names because of privacy-law considerations.Whitaker said the employee who's being ordered off base has seven days to file a response detailing any mitigating circumstances. "He's still an employee. He no longer has the privilege of living on post."
The man was not fired because "as far as we know he has conducted himself in a non-discriminatory way on the job," she said. ". . . Right now what we have is some kids that are alleged to have said nasty things to one another."
Whitaker said the base commander, Col. Jan Van Prooyen, will not tolerate racial discrimination at Dugway and issued a reminder letter to that effect Friday to everyone living on post.
The black employee who has complained about the treatment of his children is safety inspector Larry Parker. His wife, Linda Parker, told the Deseret News the family has suffered racially based harassment in school and in the community since moving to Dugway in August 1987.
She said neither school nor base officials showed sufficient concern during most of that time. "We just personally feel much more could have and should have been done much sooner." She said she and her husband tried without success to work within the system, calling military police, the base Equal Employment Opportunity Office and other officials. "I don't feel they treated our situation with any sense of urgency."
Finally, she said, the couple contacted KUTV, and her father-in-law called his congressman and got an EEO representative from Maryland to investigate last week. She said it was these steps that forced the base to act.
Her husband has decided to take a transfer to Lexington, Ky., because of the problems, but the couple doesn't intend to drop the matter, she said. She declined to specify what action they will take, saying their lawyers have advised them not to discuss it.
Asked about Mrs. Parker's allegations, Whitaker said she was surprised, because she had understood from Parker that he was satisfied with post officials' respon-ses to various problems and was just unhappy with the response of school officials.
She said the base was unaware until Oct. 14 that the Parkers were alleging racial problems not just at the school but also on the base. The school is not within the base's jurisdiction.
She said the Parkers filed no formal discrimination complaints involving the base before that, and Parker, as black program manager for the EEO office, knew how to file a complaint.
The only non-school problems base officials were aware of, she said, were two matters that the Parkers had told them were nonracial in nature, including one at the post chapel, and which officials understood had been settled satisfactorily.
Parker said that on his attorney's advice he would not comment on his opinion of the base's handling of the situation, except to express gratitude for military police protection provided in the past week after physical threats were made against his family.
He said he was just made black program manager last spring, and before that he thought that when he went to the EEO office to tell officials about a problem, that constituted filing a complaint.
Besides complaining first to the school and then to the EEO office about four racial incidents at the school, he said, he told the EEO office in January or February about an incident that had happened at the post gym.
In that incident, he said, a 14-year-old girl called his daughter a nigger and pushed her away from the drinking fountain. Within a matter of days, the girl was gone from the post, and he didn't learn until a week ago that base officials had handled the matter not as a racial case but as one of an unauthorized person being on base, he said.
Parker said it's quite possible that Van Prooyen and Whitaker were unaware of his allegations of racial problems on the post but the EEO office knew.
In the chapel incident, he said, he got up in church to complain about the gospel choir being called the "black choir" by some church members even though it included white members. EEO officials called him in to discuss his statements, he said - he did not file a formal complaint, but he told them his concerns involved race.
Whitaker said the EEO representative from the Test and Evaluation Command Headquarters at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., was invited by Dugway officials to investigate the matter, and she was unaware of any congressman getting involved, although it usually takes awhile for that kind of information to filter down.
Parker said it's quite possible the TECOM official was called in by Dugway _ he wasn't sure how that happened.
David Watson, principal of Dugway Elementary School, said he's been at the school only since August and isn't familiar with how any problems were handled before he arrived. He said he's had only a couple of complaints from the Parker family, which appeared to have been provoked at least in part by the Parker children themselves.
"Most of what I've heard and seen has happened outside school hours in the neighborhood, but the school is getting blamed for it," he said.
The first time the Parkers complained to Watson, the father had already talked to the parents of the other child, he said. Watson said he was just informed of the meeting afterward. The second time, he said, the Parkers came in and said they had already talked with the other family as well as the State Office of Education. "They've gone over my head every time they've come to talk to me."
Parker said he talked to the principal before going to the state office.
Watson said he's had other complaints from other black families, and in those cases he called in the other families involved and worked out a settlement, but the Parkers didn't give him that opportunity. He said racial problems are not common at the school to the best of his knowledge.
"We have met with the school district and with the post EEO office and with the TECOM (Test and Evaluation Command) EEO office and are working out a program to develop some classes with the children in awareness of culture and training of teachers to be further aware of the conditions that might be suspect in any clashes," he said.