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Big Sky Student Didn't Have Gun In School, Superintendent Says


The state Department of Justice is currently investigating an incident in which shots were fired in the parking lot of Big Sky High School in Missoula on Friday, March 16.

Over the weekend, the Missoulian reported that the shots came from a school resource officer, after a student he was investigating fled and tried to run him over.

Missoula County Public School Superintendent Mark Thane was limited in what he could share, because the investigation is ongoing, and would not confirm who fired the shots or why.

"I can clarify that the student in question did not have a gun in the school building," Thane said. "There’s been some misinformation on social media in that regard."

He also said questions have been swirling as to why the school was not put on lockdown. One reason is that there was not an active threat inside the school. The other was the speed of the events.

"Once the situation did escalate in the parking lot, it immediately moved from the property. Law enforcement was engaged the entire time. And it was resolved very rapidly. Quite honestly, it was resolved prior to the time that we understood what had transpired outside," Thane said.

Some students and parents have expressed concern that they first heard about the incident from social media and new outlets, not the school. In response, Thane said the school system is analyzing what happened at Big Sky, and needs to learn how to communicate more fluidly.

"We’re going to have to evaluate our initial communication procedures so that we get at least some necessary information out immediately, He said. "Particularly where it concerns student safety, etc."

Missoula County Public Schools plans to conduct forums at Big Sky High school later this week to hear concerns and questions from the student body.

According to a report from the Missoulian, the student under investigation made his first appearance in court Monday.

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