On January 24th, 2012, what hopefully is the final chapter in the anti-racist witch hunt against Alta High School was played out when the school's former vice-principal, Mark Montague, reached a confidentiality agreement with the Canyons School District to settle a grievance filed against them. However, Montague still resigned from the district altogether, walking away from the vice-principal's job at Butler Middle School where he was placed after Superintendent David Doty's purge of the top leadership at Alta High.
For background, all previous posts on the Alta High incident are available HERE, with the most recent post displaying first. KSL news video embedded below:
Montague was smeared and defamed by the district after the so-called "Klan hood incident" which took place in March 2011 at Alta High. A reprimand letter had been placed in Montague’s file which also mentioned other incidents, including a football player taunting a black player in 2009 with a noose fashioned from duct tape, and a fight between a white student and black student that occurred off campus. Montague wanted the letter removed from his file. In addition, Montague specified in his grievance letter that the offending students were suspended and the incidents handled with the involvement of several administrators and officials. It also noted that Montague had been officially gagged by Superintendent Doty, prohibiting him from discussing the incident and defending his conduct, while the district imposed no such gag upon itself. Much of the community realized that Doty was not looking to solve problems, but to find scapegoats.
Although the terms of the settlement are confidential, the letter and all related documents containing false, misleading and defamatory information were removed from his file. This means the incident will not serve as a major barrier to employment by another public school district or a private school. However, the district has refused to issue a public formal apology for the manner in which they treated Montague.
Nevertheless, Montague seems satisfied with the outcome. "It was gratifying to have it acknowledged that there was absolutely no finding of racism or condoning of racism on my part. Throughout this ordeal, I’ve heard from former students who told me that they believed in me and let me know I made a difference in their lives”, said Montague. Read the complete statement from Montague's attorney HERE. Overwhelming support for Montague continues to be expressed in the comments section of the Salt Lake Tribune story.
The Canyons School District further embarrassed itself and became an object of national derision when they announced their rejection of the nickname "Cougars" for the new Corner Canyon High School in Draper on January 19th because the term "cougar" is associated with older women who sexually prey on younger men, although a second reason was to distinguish itself from Brigham Young University. Media all over the country picked up the story and poked fun at the district -- and Utah -- for political correctness and puritanism; even the United Kingdom's Daily Mail reported on it.
Under the leadership of David Doty, the Canyons School District has become a laughing stock -- and a cancer upon the body politic of public education in Utah. But local taxpayers are not without recourse; so long as Doty remains superintendent, they can vote to reject any future school bonds floated by the district. Perhaps if taxpayers hit the district in their wallet enough times, the district will get the message that it's supposed to do what the people want.