GREAT FALLS - The principal of Great Falls High School is on paid suspension while the school district investigates his involvement in a fight on Tuesday with a man in a bank parking lot.
Principal Steve Henneberg, 56, and Marlowe Rames, 50, received deferred prosecutions Thursday in Municipal Court on charges of disorderly conduct. Deferred prosecution allows charges to be dropped if the defendant commits no other offenses for six months.
School Superintendent Bryan Dunn said Thursday that he suspended Henneberg until a school district investigation is complete and there is a decision about what disciplinary action, if any, to take.
"A principal has to be a good role model for students, so it causes me great concern if any principal chooses a violent solution to a problem," Dunn said.
Assistant City Attorney Tony Lucas met with Henneberg and Rames separately Thursday before offering the deferred prosecutions. Lucas said each agreed on many aspects of the fight.
Lucas said Rames was riding by the parking lot on a bicycle and stopped when he saw Henneberg with Rames' wife, Michelle Rames. She is a scheduling clerk at Russell High School, where Henneberg was assistant principal until the past school year.
"Then a quarrel and a bit of pushing and shoving ensued. Both men said it was not a big slugfest," Lucas said.
Both men spoke guardedly when contacted by the Great Falls Tribune.
"This is obviously a family tragedy," Rames said, adding, "I was defending myself in the fight."
Henneberg said he "had a disagreement with a guy, but it was more rolling around on the ground than a fistfight.
"It was a big, dumb move on my part," he added. "The fight was not appropriate."
Henneberg declined to discuss the reasons for the fight or his connection with the Rameses.
Lucas said the city attorney's office routinely offers deferred prosecution when defendants have clean records.
"They got no more or no less than any other person in the same set of circumstances," Lucas said. Both men paid $50 in court fees, he said.
"We're not brushing over this lightly," Dunn said.