News / Utah / 

Alta High administrators placed on paid leave during investigation

By Amanda Verzello | Posted - Mar 28th, 2011 @ 9:54pm

2 photos

SANDY — The principal and vice principal of Alta High School have been placed on paid leave during the investigation of multiple "serious incidents" uncovered by a district investigation, according to a school employee.

Canyons School District condemns and prohibits all forms of racism and discrimination. We are taking appropriate administrative action.

–Jennifer Toomer-Cooke

Prompted by a March 18 incident where a student wore a white pointed hood to a school spirit bowl that some felt resembled the infamous Ku Klux Klan symbol, the Canyons School District has uncovered evidence of other "serious incidents" that have occurred at the school over the past year, according to district spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook. 

"Canyons School District condemns and prohibits all forms of racism and discrimination," she said. "We are taking appropriate administrative action." 

The district has placed Mont Widerberg and Mark Montague, principal and vice principal of Alta High, respectively, on paid leave while the investigation of the incidents continues, a school employee said. 

The district's office of civil rights is looking into the hood incident, and based on the evidence it finds will come up with a course of action that could potentially include discipline for the student who allegedly donned the hood.

"It was completely recognizable," said Taylor Risk, a student at the school.

Another student at the school, Larz Cosby, decided to take a stand against the display on his blog, His post on the incident has generated more than 600 comments.

Toomer-Cook, who would not reveal the nature of the other incidents the civil rights office has turned up, said she doesn't know how long the investigation will last, but she expects the school to cooperate with the process. 

In the meantime, the replacement principal will be Ray Jenson, a previous Alta teacher and coach who left the school to pursue a career in administration, according to a school employee.


Related Stories

Amanda Verzello

    KSL Weather Forecast