get it home page promo

Whitehall school steps up security

Stranger’s advance| 6-year-old reports being approached
2012-10-31T00:14:00Z 2012-10-31T15:12:46Z Whitehall school steps up securityBy Piper Haugan The Montana Standard Helena Independent Record
October 31, 2012 12:14 am  • 

BUTTE — In light of an alleged incident involving a man making advances toward a 6-year-old child on school grounds, Whitehall school and law enforcement have plans to beef up security.

The district will have more teachers monitoring the playground during recess and before and after school hours, and it will begin enforcing a stricter visitor policy, according to Britt McLean, vice principal of Whitehall’s high school.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department will step up its coverage of the area, especially today on Halloween, Deputy Michael Wharton said Tuesday.

McLean released a statement regarding the alleged incident.

According to McLean, a man approached a 6-year-old child Friday after school near the bus drop-off area of the school grounds. The man allegedly told the child he wanted to get to know him better, and that he had talked to the child’s father, who said it was OK. The child’s father died three years ago. The boy got on the bus and told his mother when he got home.

McLean said two teachers as well as numerous paraprofessionals were outside monitoring the students at the time. None of the adults saw the man or the incident.

The man was described as skinny, in his 40s or 50s, wearing a black baseball cap with white lettering, a black jacket with white lettering and baggy black pants. The man was reported to have a short growth of white whiskers or a mustache. The space between his eyes was described as “flat.”

McLean said the school district is working to tighten security for the children. He said personnel discussed several changes at a staff meeting Tuesday morning, including increasing the number of teachers on the playground during recesses and the pick-up and drop-off periods of the day.

Some parents are hoping to organize a group of parents who will patrol the school area during recess and other times around the school day.

Annissa Hastie, a Whitehall parent, said she and other parents are disappointed with the school “not taking (the issue) seriously or with as much attention as they should.”

“There has been no email, no mass memo sent out,” Hastie told The Montana Standard Tuesday afternoon. “I bet 75 percent of parents are unaware” of the incident.

McLean said he posted the statement on the website on Tuesday afternoon, and mailers containing the statement and description of the alleged offender were sent home with kids. He added that he had just learned of the incident on Monday.

Hastie said the man will likely go away if he knows people are looking for him.

“Help comes en masse,” she said. “Odds and probabilities are, he’s either going to get scared and leave or one of us is going to catch him.”

Copyright 2014 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Civil Dialogue

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and personal abuse are not welcome. Moderators will monitor comments with an eye toward maintaining a high level of civility in this forum. Our comment policy explains the rules of the road for registered commenters. If you receive an error after submitting a comment, please contact us.

If your comment was not approved, perhaps:

    1. You called someone an idiot, a racist, a dope, a moron, etc. Please, no name-calling or profanity (or veiled profanity -- #$%^&*).

    2. You rambled, failed to stay on topic or exhibited troll-like behavior intended to hijack the discussion at hand.

    3. YOU SHOUTED YOUR COMMENT IN ALL CAPS. This is hard to read and annoys readers.

    4. You have issues with a business. Have a bad meal? Feel you were overcharged at the store? New car is a lemon? Contact the business directly with your customer service concerns.

    5. You believe the newspaper's coverage is unfair. It would be better to write the editor at This is a forum for community discussion, not for media criticism. We'd rather address your concerns directly.

    6. You included an e-mail address or phone number, pretended to be someone you aren't or offered a comment that makes no sense.

    7. You accused someone of a crime or assigned guilt or punishment to someone suspected of a crime.

    8. Your comment is in really poor taste.

    9. Don't write a novel. If your comment is longer than the article you're commenting on, you might want to cut it down a bit. Lengthy comments will likely be removed.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Follow the Independent Record

Featured Businesses