HARRISON, Mont. -

The following is a press release from Harrison Public School:

On Friday, January 25th, a student came to see Harrison School Superintendent, Fred Hofman, right after classes let out for the day, shortly after 3:00 p.m.  The student advised Hofman that she heard that another student had a gun in his backpack.  Efforts were quietly and quickly made by school staff to locate the student.  The circumstances of the situation did not allow for any lockdown procedure to be used since school had already been released, winter sports photos were underway, students were getting concessions ready, and community members were arriving as basketball games were set to begin shortly as Harrison was hosting Lima and Cardwell.

Staff learned the student may have left school to walk to the store, a few blocks away.  A staff member saw the student returning to the school and notified Hofman of the student’s location via text message. Moments later, the student was met by Hofman as he entered the school.   After locating the student's backpack, which the student had left outside the school building upon his return to campus, Hofman secured the student’s backpack and then escorted the student into the school office.

Once in the office, the student advised Hofman that he had two handguns, one loaded and one unloaded in his backpack.   The freshman class adviser, Josh Kelton, assisted Hofman by unloading the one handgun and verifying the other handgun was not also loaded.   Assistant Principal, Sheri Heavrin, called 9-1-1 as well as the student’s parents.  The student was cooperative.

Madison County Sheriff’s deputies soon thereafter responded to the scene.   An investigation by the school’s administration and law enforcement ensued and the student was taken into custody.

“The matter is now in the hands of the Madison County Attorney.  The school will handle the matter in accordance with school policy and will do what is necessary to protect our students.  I could not be more proud of the student who had the courage to come forward with the information or more proud of my staff, who remained calm, and worked together without creating panic to secure the situation quickly and keep the community members and students in the school, safe.” said Hofman.