BILLINGS — A Terry elementary school student who brought an unloaded gun to school last week will be allowed to return to school, but could still face a criminal charge, Superintendent Mike Eninger said Tuesday.
The incident happened last Tuesday, March 1, when the student was seen with the gun during recess. The gun was taken away from him without incident.
The Terry School Board met Monday in closed and open session to determine what to do about the student, who was reportedly in the third grade.
According to Eninger, the board determined the student must follow conditions to remain enrolled: regular counseling, daily pocket and bag searches for at least the rest of the year, a book report on gun safety and consequences, contact with Youth Dynamics to find a mentor, and remaining in sight of a playground aide at all times.
Here's the full statement from Eninger:
"This a follow up to last week's weapon incident when a primary school student brought an unloaded pistol to school that was promptly discovered and turned over to law enforcement. The District sent out communications to parents via automated phone calls and email with a summary of the incident prior to 1pm the same day. In the interest of ensuring accurate information is shared about what action was taken by the Terry Public School Board at a Special Board meeting held Monday, March 7th, here is a summary.
The board met for about 2.5 hours, mostly in closed session. What I can share comes from the board motion in the open session, following the closed session. They approved the following course of action after significant deliberation:
- Allowed the student, referred to as 22-A to protect the student’s privacy, to continue enrollment with conditions:
- Regular counseling is required
- Daily pocket and bag searches for at least the rest of the year
- Do a book report on gun safety and consequences
- Get in contact with Youth Dynamics and get a mentor
- Stay in sight of the playground aide
The Prairie County Sheriff was also in attendance and provided a summary of the likely consequences, in open session. Those are as follows: a charge of possession of a firearm by a youth under age 14, which will result in an appearance to youth probation court and will likely result in probation with frequent and regular check ins. If that goes well, then after time served, student 22-A will likely be released from probation. The Sheriff also expressed his support for the board motion and said he felt it was a good choice in this particular case.
Any further infractions on this front will result in much more serious consequences from both the school board and law enforcement."
Eninger added that Prairie County Sheriff Keifer Lewis was at the meeting and said he expected county prosecutors would file a charge of firearm possession by a youth under age 14, which would likely require probation and regular check-ins. Lewis said he supported the school board action, according to Eninger.
MTN News has not yet been able to confirm whether those charges had been filed as of Tuesday. The name of the child has not been released.