Former Alta student awarded $100K in racial discrimination suit

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SANDY -- A former Alta High School student received $100,000 Friday in a claim involving racial discrimination.

In March 2011 at a student assembly at Alta High School, students were accused of donning a white sheet similar to a Ku Klux Klan hood. That incident sparked an investigation into another claim of discrimination, which has now been settled out of court.

The statement from Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney is both definitive and direct: "The matter has been settled and it's been settled by the district's insurer, the state risk management, with no admission of liability."

The matter has been settled and it's been settled by the district's insurer, the state risk management, with no admission of liability.

–statement from Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney

Former Alta student Anthony Armstrong was awarded the $100,000. He filed a claim in November 2011 against the district, saying he was the victim of racial slurs, taunts and physical threats by other students -- mainly his teammates on Alta High School's football team.

Armstrong and his attorneys filed 30 pages worth of examples in the initial claim. The district says they took the claim seriously.

"Moved swiftly and decisively to take appropriate action the minute [we] heard allegations of racial incidents at one of our schools," Haney said.

The claims came following two reported incidents at Alta in March of 2011. First, was the school assembly where a student was accused of wearing a hood, resembling that of the Ku Klux Klan. The second, students reported receiving racially charged text messages at the school.

Within two weeks, Alta principal Mont Widerberg and assistant principal Mark Montague were placed on administrative leave. Widerberg would retire by the month's end.

In a statement released on April 8, 2011, the district said some of the incidents were confirmed. Also during that time, Anthony Armstrong came forward with his allegations, which the district investigated.

Haney says Canyons superintendent Dr. David Doty "went class to class, every English class, talked about our anti-discrimination policy and our expectations of behavior and our strict prohibition against all types of racist behavior."

As part of the settlement, the Canyons School District has also taken steps toward an even stricter anti-discrimination policy.

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Andrew Wittenberg


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