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Alta High VP reaches settlement with Canyons district over racism row

 |  Posted Jan 24th, 2012 @ 3:20pm

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Press release from Montague attorney

Salt Lake City Utah…Former Alta High School Assistant Principal, Mark Montague, who was reassigned to Butler Middle School following an allegedly racist incident at a March 2011 "Spirit Assembly," has settled all claims against the Canyons School District stemming from the assembly and transfer. He has voluntarily resigned as a Canyons District employee effective January 20, 2012. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

"I am completely satisfied with this outcome," Montague said. "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."

Montague, a Utah native with 7 children and 7 grandchildren - including 13 month-old Kylee who is biracial - said this has been very hard on his family. "They have been shocked by the whole experience. I always taught my children to stand up and take action against prejudice and injustice. We are very happy to finally put this behind us and let the community heal."

John Pace, the Salt Lake attorney who, along with James C. Lewis, represented Montague, said the hardest part was watching his client's frustration at not being able to respond to inferences that he somehow condoned objectionable behavior. "You'll never find a more dedicated and responsible educator than Mark. It nearly killed him to think that former students, parents or colleagues might actually believe some of the negative rumors."

Montague spent 30 years in the Jordan School District as a teacher, counselor and administrator before retiring in 2006 as Principal at Jordan High School. He came out of retirement in 2008 to accept an assistant principal position at Alta when that school became part of the new Canyons District. "I taught because I loved making a difference in the lives of young people. Those are the big paychecks you get in teaching."

Montague said he will always treasure his 30 years working in the Jordan School District. He added, "I also have to thank my colleagues in the new district, and the students and parents at Alta and Butler, for their steadfast support. You couldn't ask for better friends."

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