Listeners React to Helena Teacher’s Drug Sentence
A Helena elementary schoolteacher, busted with several hardcore drugs like meth, heroin, and LSD in his possession is getting off easy with merely a deferred sentence. And this isn't just any schoolteacher- he's the husband of the statewide Democrat candidate for superintendent of public instruction in Montana.
Earlier this week, the AP reported on the sentencing of Eric Lehman. Did he get off easy? Here's what a couple of our radio listeners had to say about it via e-mail.
Taylor in Kalispell:
Read in the Daily Interlake today that Eric Lehman, the school teacher caught with the plethora of drugs was given his sentence. I thought it was interesting that it states the Deputy attorney allowed him to CHOOSE which drug he would be prosecuted for, and that anyone would be given that option. He will not be serving any jail time, obtaining a chemical dependency evaluation, and completing 40 hours of community service. Curious as to whether or not you had any more information, and what your take on this is! I remember students in high school getting MIPs and getting way over 40 hours of community service. I feel this is a ridiculous outcome. As a teacher I feel he was a danger to minors and should be punished for more for this! Would like to hear this on the morning show again in the near future! Curious how other Montanans feel.
Bob in Lewistown:
He is a a liberal and these folks stick together. This is what is known as progressive.
As you know most Montana's would be serving significant time in jail or prison. It would be interesting to know the politics of the county attorney and the judge. Judges do not have to accept the terms proposed by the county attorney as you are aware.
PRIOR POST FROM DECEMBER 6, 2019
MTN reporter Mike Dennison was first to break the news Tuesday night that a Helena elementary school was busted with some hardcore drugs- meth, LSD, cocaine, and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
We spoke about the story on Wednesday morning on the radio, but I had to wonder- where was the Associated Press? I mean, it's a big enough story that an elementary teacher got busted with those kinds of drugs to begin with. But then you add the fact that the teacher in question is married to a statewide Democrat party candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
*For clarification, as you can see in the thread at the above tweet- it appears that the print version for the AP may have included the Democrat candidate reference. However, the broadcast version (which our station pays for) did not include any reference to the Democrat candidate. And that is the version that would likely be voiced and covered by dozens of TV and radio stations across Montana.
As an update to this story, I reached out to the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) here in Montana. Was OPI alerted that a teacher who posed a threat with these drugs had remained in the school for so long? Was OPI ever alerted about this issue, or did the school officials in Helena keep it quiet? We're now getting word that Helena school officials apparently weren't aware of this until Tuesday (Per The Great Falls Tribune).
Dylan Klapmeier, spokesman for OPI, tells us:
OPI was not informed by law enforcement or the district about the charges against Mr. Lehman. The district would have been required to notify OPI if he resigned in lieu of termination or if they had knowledge of the charges. Based on the article, it appears that he simply told them that he was resigning due to personal issues, but we are still working to figure out what exactly occurred between August and November.
He still has an active teaching license so per our usual protocol, OPI’s attorney sent him a letter this week requesting that he surrender his license. If he chooses not to surrender his license, OPI will recommend that the Board of Public Education revoke it.
Here's the video of the initial report from Mike Dennison, which aired on KTVH-TV and several CBS stations across Montana: