Dec 8, 2010 9:41 AM by Andrea Lutz - Montana's News Station

Montana honor student faces expulsion over gun in trunk

COLUMBIA FALLS, MT - Demarie DeReu, a 16-year-old honor student at Columbia Falls High School, is facing expulsion after leaving her hunting rifle in her vehicle on school grounds.

DeReu, who is also a member of the Student Council and a varsity cheerleader, told Montana's News Station that she had no intention of breaking any rules or laws, or harming anyone.

She went hunting over the Thanksgiving holiday with her family and forgot to unpack the rifle; it remained unloaded in a case in the trunk of her car.

Upon hearing that a "contraband dog" was to be working the school parking lot, DeRue remembered her unloaded hunting rifle in the trunk of her car and promptly informed school officials.

A meeting is now set for Monday, December 13, at 6 p.m. where DeRue will face an expulsion hearing before the local school board.

The district has a "zero tolerance" policy about guns in schools.

Calls made to Mike Nicosia, the superintendent of Columbia Falls have not yet been returned, although Nicosia did provide a written response to Aaron Flint of the Northern News Network which read, in part:

The Columbia Falls School Board is required to follow the mandates of the Federal Gun Free Schools Policy. In our state, this law creates many difficult situations each year. Our people hunt, our people transport weapons and sometimes we forget. Unfortunately, the Gun Free Schools Policy does not discriminate between a student bringing a gun to school to do harm and a student who forgets that he or she left a gun in the car trunk after hunting. I must say that our students are reminded of the Gun Free Schools Act and its requirements regularly and they are fully aware of the consequences. In a cases such as the one described below, I am confident that the trustees of Columbia Falls School District Six would levy the least possible term of expulsion.

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