Helena High School withholding graduation amid vandalism investigation | Education

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Diplomas are being denied to all graduates of Helena High School after the school was vandalized late last week, officials said, noting they believe some of the students were involved.

Helena Public Schools officials said Monday that the diplomas would be withheld for a short time while their investigation was completed. Later Monday, school officials said the degrees would be released later this week.

They said the damage occurred late Thursday evening and included, but was not limited to, aluminum cans and paper strewn in overturned recycling bins, student artwork shot in the corridors and damage to a piece of guard equipment.

“This is unacceptable behavior, and we will hold those responsible accountable,” school district superintendent Rex Weltz said in an email.

Officials said a “small minority of students allegedly participated in these unacceptable activities, and the district is working to conclude its investigation as quickly as possible so that degrees can be issued.”

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Karen Ogden, spokeswoman for Helena Public Schools, said the amount of damages was being assessed Monday.

Graduation ceremonies were held Saturday for 263 Helena High students. The ceremony took place at Nelson Stadium at Carroll College.

Helena police said Monday that no report has been filed with their department regarding the school vandalism.

Ogden said that once the district completes its internal investigation, “we will be able to determine whether to turn anything over to law enforcement.”

She said Helena High School students traditionally pick up their diplomas at the school office the week after the start when they show up for their final check-in to return textbooks, Chromebooks and other school materials.






Helena High School graduates toss their caps on Saturday during their graduation ceremony at Nelson Stadium.


THOM BRIDGE, Independent Disc


Associate Editor Phil Drake can be reached at 406-231-9021.

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