01 Feb Public Statement from Superintendent Mike Tatsey: January 31, 2023
On behalf of the Heart Butte Public School District, I am responding to misleading and harmful information recently printed in Montana media.
First, it is disheartening that the event of Thursday, January 26, 2023, was splashed around in the press. I did not speak with on-hand press as their presence there was extremely inappropriate and exploitive, nor did the School have input on the timing of the action, which was done without regard for the children most impacted by the event. The Heart Butte School will issue no other public comments regarding this incident.
Further, the Heart Butte School is committed to its current drug policy. The Heart Butte School will always take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of the children at the School.
As Superintendent, I have never and would never fail to address potential drug use of an employee and have never “let things slide.”
I have taken steps to investigate any concerns related to employee drug use and responded appropriately. As a professional and an employer, I do not allow rumors or innuendo to impact their livelihood.
As a long-standing member of our small, tight-knit community, I am committed to the best education in a safe environment for our children, and am cautious about statements to the press, as things said carelessly can have significant ripple effects for members in the community for a long time.
The School Administration has a duty to respect employee due process and privacy rights. Further, there are times when compassion for those who suffer with addiction in our community is merited. When it has been appropriate, the School has required staff members to complete a drug and alcohol assessment and follow the recommendations of the assessment.
If there is a parent or other concerned community member who has concrete, specific information about a particular school employee using drugs beyond rumor and innuendo, they can submit that information to the School District for internal administrative review. However, generalized gossip about some unnamed employee only harms the School’s ability to focus on providing the best education to the Community’s children.