Firearms and Weapons
For the purposes of the firearms section of this policy, the term “firearm” means (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or (D) any destructive device pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 921 (4). Such term does not include an antique firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 921 (16).
It is the policy of the Great Falls Public Schools to comply with the federal Gun Free Schools Act of 1994 and state law 20-5-202 (2), MCA, pertaining to students who bring a firearm to, or possess a firearm at, any setting that is under the control and supervision of the school district. In accordance with 20-5-202 (3), MCA, a teacher, superintendent, or a principal shall suspend immediately for good cause a student who is determined to have brought a firearm to, or possess a firearm at, any setting that is under the control and supervision of the school district. In accordance with Montana law, a student who is determined to have brought a firearm to, or possess a firearm at, any setting that is under the control and supervision of the school district must be expelled from school for a period of not less than 1 year.
However, on a case-by-case basis, the Board of Trustees will convene a hearing to review the underlying circumstances and, in the discretion of the Board, may authorize the school administration to modify the requirement for expulsion of a student.
A decision to change the placement of a student with a disability who has been expelled pursuant to this section must be made in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Possession of Weapons other than Firearms
The District does not allow weapons on school property. Any student found to have possessed, used or transferred a weapon on school property will be subject to discipline in accordance with the District’s discipline policy. For purposes of this section, “weapon” means any object, device, or instrument designed as a weapon or through its use is capable of threatening or producing bodily harm or which may be used to inflict self-injury, including but not limited to air guns; pellet guns; BB guns; fake (facsimile) weapons; all knives; blades; clubs; metal knuckles; nunchucks; throwing stars; explosives; fireworks; mace or other propellants; stun guns; ammunition; poisons; chains; arrows; and objects that have been modified to serve as a weapon.
No person shall possess, use, or distribute any object, device, or instrument having the appearance of a weapon, and such objects, devices, or instruments shall be treated as weapons, including but not limited to weapons listed above which are broken or non-functional, look-alike guns; toy guns; and any object that is a facsimile of a real weapon. No person shall use articles designed for other purposes (i.e., lasers or laser pointers, belts, combs, pencils, files, scissors, etc.) to inflict bodily harm and/or intimidate, and such use will be treated as the possession and use of a weapon.
The District will refer to law enforcement for immediate prosecution any person who possesses, carries, or stores a weapon in a school building, and the District may take disciplinary action as well in the case of a student. In addition the District will refer for possible prosecution a parent or guardian of any minor violating this policy on grounds of allowing a minor to possess, carry, or store a weapon in a school building. (45-8-361 (1) (2))
For the purposes of this section only, “school building” means all buildings owned or leased by a local school district that are used for instruction or for student activities. (45-8-361 (5a))
The Board may grant persons and entities advance permission to possess, carry, or store a weapon in a school building. For the purposes of education, instruction and ceremonial occasions, the building principal, in consultation with the school resource officer, may grant students or faculty prior written permission to bring a weapon or disabled firearm into a school building. The Superintendent or designee will be notified by the building principal each time permission is granted for an individual or group to bring weapons on to a GFPS school campus for educational purposes. (ex. Hunter education classes, History lessons, Shop class, etc.)
All other persons who wish to possess, carry, or store a weapon in a school building must request permission of the Board at a regular meeting. The Board has sole discretion in deciding whether to allow a person to possess, carry, or store a weapon in a school building. (45-8-361 (3b)) This policy does not apply to law enforcement officers. (45-8-361 (3a))
The trustees shall annually review this policy and update this policy as determined necessary based on changing circumstances pertaining to school safety.