Another Student in Trouble over a Gun


December 6, 2010, 11:13 PM
This may need to be moved to another area but I wanted to get the word out on this.

Forwarded from Gary Marbut who is huge into Shooting Sports in Montana.

Demarie DeReu

Sixteen-year-old Demarie DeReu is an honor roll student, a member of the Columbia Falls (Montana) High School Student Council and a varsity cheerleader. Although she has no intent to break any rules or laws, or harm anyone, Demarie is at risk of having her college education derailed and maybe even being identified forever as a domestic terrorist.

Why? Demarie went hunting over Thanksgiving with family and friends. She forgot that her unloaded hunting rifle was cased and locked in the trunk of her car. When she arrived at school, she parked in the school parking lot because to park anywhere else is an expulsion offense at CFHS. Upon hearing that the "contraband dog" was to be working the school parking lot, Demarie remembered her unloaded hunting rifle secured in the trunk of her car AND she voluntarily informed school officials.

Next monday, December 13, at 6 PM, Demarie will face her expulsion hearing before the local school board. She will possibly have her life derailed because a bunch of school idiots insist that she must be subject to an irrational, "zero tolerance" policy about guns in schools that does not countenance lack of bad intent. The theory that people with malice will be intimidated into good conduct if people without malice are punished in lieu of them is idiocy at its finest.

At the upcoming hearing, education officials will tell school board members that they have no choice - that state law and good gamesmanship require the school board to levy harsh and record-destroying punishment against Demarie. They will be wrong!

The controlling Montana law about this is 20-5-202, M.C.A. <> , which says about expulsion for bringing guns "to school," "... the trustees may authorize the school administration to modify the requirement for expulsion of a student on a case-by-case basis." Further, "to school" is not defined in 20-5-2-202, but is at 45-8-361, M.C.A. <> as "... in a school building." Demarie's hunting rifle was cased and locked in the trunk of her car in the parking lot, but not "in a school building."

What can you do about this outrage?

Forward this message to every gun owner you know, in Flathead County, in Montana, or elsewhere.

Send messages to school officials and school board members. Use your own words and be polite. Remember, they think they wear white hats, even if you don't think so. It IS okay to say you feel very strongly about this, but no profanity and no name-calling, please.

School Dist 6, 501 6th Ave W. Columbia Falls, MT 59912

Mike Nicosia Superintendent
Alan Robbins Principal
Scott Gaiser Asst. Principal

School board Members
Jill Rocksund
Dean Chisholm
Barbara Riley
Darrell Newby
Gail Pauley
Jim Henjum
Larry Wilson
Scott Emmerich

Copy to the local newspaper. The local daily newspaper would very much like to receive a copy of whatever you send to these folks. Please copy the Kalispell Daily Interlake at:
editor@ <> <>

Email suggestions. For your emails, I suggest a Subject line of: "Free Demarie DeReu"

In addition to whatever else you recommend to administration and school board members, I suggest you include the following:

1) Demarie DeReu should be given no more than a verbal warning that she should not in the future pack her hunting rifle to school (I think she's learned that by now);

2) Demarie DeReu should be given an award for being honest and volunteering to school officials about the unloaded and cased hunting rifle locked in the trunk of her car;

3) Demarie DeReu should be held out as an example to other students for her participation in essential wildlife management in Montana; and

4) That when the Legislature considers education funding in the upcoming legislative session, legislators will consider the outcome of this case as an example of how schools are using taxpayer resources in Montana.

Show up. Finally, if you are in Flathead County or within driving distance, gather all of your friends and show up at the CFHS school board hearing next Monday, 12/13/2010. Better yet, show up at the CFHS at 5PM with picket signs that say "Free Demarie DeReu." There ought to be 1,000 of you there!! Organize!! Show up!!

Thanks loads for your help with this.

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association

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December 7, 2010, 06:09 PM
Just want to check where this came from. Is this real? A quick google of Demarie DeReu shows only copies of this email in various blogs/websites, but I can't find any news stories on her case.

Just wondering if it is real or not. Sometimes the best internet rumors are the ones that are the most detailed and realistic! This isn't hard to believe, but I like to trust but verify before I take action. I can't seem to verify anything about this story.

December 7, 2010, 07:00 PM
Already under discussion in General, but the point about verifying the veracity of these things is well taken. I can't find anything on Mr. Marbut's website about this and you'd think it would be highlighted if he were sending emails out.

December 11, 2010, 07:08 AM
Verified as factually accurate by Dec 9 FoxNews story-

December 11, 2010, 09:06 AM
Just came here to post that I saw the NRA interview at

Email sent to the addresses listed by the original poster.

Sorry for the doubt of the original post, but I just couldn't find a single news source back then that could verify the story.

December 11, 2010, 11:50 AM
I agree, complete stupidity on the part of the school. They have a one-way approach to everything in a multi-faceted world.

The contraband dogs were more than likely just looking for marijuana. Even then, its a crapshoot at best. When I was in school, they would take the dogs out in the student parking lot and they would sniff along the cars, but nothing was opened. It's to instill fear in the student body, and cause people like Demarie DeReu to come forward and get themselves in trouble, just so the school board can make an example out of somebody.

The reason I know is that there was this guy we ALL knew was dealing marijuana when I was in HS, he had about a quart-sized ziplock full of it in his car once when they had the dogs sniffing. They didn't find anything. In fact, I'm pretty sure he had something in the car EVERY time the dogs were out. No one ever got in trouble for anything, but he was still sweating up a storm every time they came on the intercom and announced that we were to steer clear of the parking lot!

Honesty is the best policy, but you can save yourself the headache if you know when to just keep quiet.

Sending emails now.

January 8, 2011, 01:25 AM
I thought Montana was a pro gun state. At one of the high schools I went to, voluntary surrender of long guns in similar situations carried no penalty. And this was in Maryland! I guess the principal was a hunter maybe?

Expulsion though? That's harsh. A one week suspension would have been bad enough. I remember in first grade when a kid got expelled for bringing a handgun to school. He was still allowed to attend a different elementary school in the city however. Hope everything turns out good for her.

January 8, 2011, 02:05 AM
Its truly disappointing to hear this especially so close to where i live. Not to mention a fellow hunter potentially losing it all. I understand the schools obligation to do what they did but it was a really harsh way to deal with the situation... I would be so worried about losing my guns and hunting RIGHTS. As far as her academic career goes it would truly be a shame to lose such opertunities as the career she wanted to go to. I have a feeling that this will blow over with little repercussions but in a state like this if she does get nail'd i can see a big outrage rising in the northwest. But the law is the law. Be it there for the people, regardless whether it helps or hurts. It really hurts me though to see "innocent" people such as herself(I understand that she is quilty) getting the same treatment as the few "bad ones" they do catch. I guess as they say it "you can restrict our lives and the law abiding people will follow, but the ones who are the problems will remain problems".

January 8, 2011, 07:38 AM
She was given a pass.

January 8, 2011, 09:58 AM
my question is who decided to make a huge stink out of this anyway. i live near c falls, and everyone in the surrounding area hunts or shoots. it's part of living in montana. what administrator said "well, i'm sorry, but we have to expel you"

January 10, 2011, 12:48 PM
Contrary to the false hype about "zero tolerance" insanity in Montana, it looks like the Board had the freedom to deal with this incident rationally, did deal with it rationally, and that it usually does:

Board trustee Dean Chisolm said DeReu’s case is the fifth in three years in which officials have had to address guns on campus.

“In each case, it’s been troubling,” Chisolm said.

He said the policy was rewritten to allow more leniency through a case-by-case basis, and that the board considers the student’s intent, whether the incident was an honest mistake, whether the student self-reported, when the self-reporting happened and the nature of the student’s participation in the investigation.

In the four prior cases, the board determined expulsion was not necessary.

Apparently, in five out of five cases now, no student has actually been expelled. While those who participated in the letter-writing campaign will congratulate themselves, the decision would probably have been the same without it -- for three years, the Board has literally always ruled against expulsion.

I don't see anything wrong with schools taking the gun-possession matter seriously. After all, this student did forget that she had a rifle in her car. Forgetting about the location of your firearm is negligence, and there's nothing wrong with an appropriate punishment for that negligence (in this case, suspension but not expulsion). This brouhaha ended up being a lesson in gun safety.

January 10, 2011, 01:27 PM
I understand the need to make an example of people who bring guns to school, but the real issue here is INTENT - what, if anything, did she intend to do with said gun? NOTHING! It was an honest mistake and it could have happened to any of us (if we were still in highschool). I truly hope they don't punish this poor girl!

January 10, 2011, 01:30 PM
I know this is school policy, not state law, but this type of "mandatory sentence" comes up in local, state and national law as well. We need to change this mind frame of automatic sentencing when passing laws and policies. Anytime legislation mentions a mandatory sentence, it is violating the checks and balances of our government. We have three branches of government in a supposed effort to limit abuse of power. Mandatory sentences/punishments passed with laws is directly interfering with the judicial process. It is often vague or all encompassing such that accidental cases like this are equated to terrorists.

January 10, 2011, 01:37 PM
I'm 21 and back when I was in high school I was kicked out 1week from my graduation, for leaving a hunting knife with a 5in blade on the back seat of my jeep, same with me, I volunteered that it was there figuring I would save myself some trouble later. Wrong..... all the LEO's at the station when they arrested me said it was total BS but their hands were really tied on it.$7000 later in lawyers bills and I got it expunged. Ruined 2 yrs of my life.

January 10, 2011, 11:00 PM
I think I may have to respectfully disagree with some of the above poster.

Whether or not you think that a law or rule is correct, or you agree/disagree with the concept it is still a law or a rule. She should have known that this was a severe punishable offense before hand and not put her self into this situation. While I have sympathy and hope all turns out okay for her, it does not change the fact that she failed to observe the rule.

January 10, 2011, 11:26 PM
something i forgot to put in my last post, was that i did learn an extremely good life lesson!! and i think it made me grow up alot. Now i fully agree with the laws. we might think, well the school or the local LEO's should be able to make a judgment call on something as simple as a girl leaving a rifle in her car, BUT! the day those people make the wrong call all **** breaks loose. It's much better to set a precedent and than just follow it.
**thump** that was me jumping down off my soapbox. Haha

Rail Driver
January 10, 2011, 11:56 PM
I think the last few posters missed the point here a little bit... Let me clarify: The 2nd Amendment protects my right to keep and bear arms. Other laws protect firearms in the home, and most states extend that protection to your vehicle... It's my RIGHT to keep a gun in my car, regardless of where that car is parked. Any law restricting that right is an infringement, and is therefore unconstitutional and needs to be repealed. What part of "shall not be infringed." do people not get?

January 11, 2011, 12:18 AM
Particular issue resolved. Thanks for folks who actually contacted the authorities with an eye towards influencing them to be reasonable.

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