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Whitnall to discuss its handling of sex-crime details in wake of food director's arrest

March 19, 2013

To answer questions about why parents didn't learn that the Whitnall food service director was charged with enticing a child to a sex crime, Superintendent Lowell Holtz will hold an information session at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Whitnall High School auditorium.

James Heidke was arrested in a police sting operation in which he allegedly thought he was soliciting a 15-year-old boy via computer. He was charged Feb. 28 by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office.

Heidke, who is no longer food service director, worked for a subcontractor that provides meals for Whitnall schools.

Parents didn't find out about his arrest and the subsequent charges until March 5, many hours after it had appeared on Facebook and after a local television station had aired the news. School officials said parents weren't notified immediately because police said they had no indication that Whitnall students had been victimized, said School Board President Nancy Zaborowski.

But School Board member Quin Brunnette said the schools should have told parents immediately so that they were prepared with the facts and could better explain what happened to their children who heard about the incident and had questions.

Brunnette pushed for a full School Board discussion about the district's handling of the matter. As a result, the board will review it in closed session after its regular meeting following Monday's information session.

A new communication policy also will be developed in the next two months, Zaborowski said.

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