Flathead High School Student Arrested After Loaded Gun Found in Backpack

Student allegedly told administrators the gun was to be sold or traded

By Dillon Tabish

A Flathead High School student was arrested after staff discovered a loaded handgun in his backpack.

A staff member informed school administrators of an incident involving alcohol on Friday afternoon and during an investigation a handgun was found in a student’s backpack. The student, a male who was not identified by age, allegedly said the firearm was brought to school to be sold or traded, according to administrators.

Mark Flatau, superintendent of Kalispell Public Schools, said the gun was loaded, but he did not know how many bullets were in it.

School administration and the Kalispell Police Department acted immediately to address the situation, Flatau said, and the incident remains under investigation.

The incident also involved drugs and a second student is also in police custody, Flatau said.

“You hate to have this happen but we are grateful and thankful that it ended in the manner that it did, with no one threatened, no one even aware of the situation other than those individuals involved,” Flatau said.

Names of the students are being withheld because they are minors. Per FHS school policy, a student who uses, possesses or transfers a firearm, or any object that can reasonably be considered or looks like a firearm, shall be expelled for a definite period of time of at least one calendar year.

The school district sent out emails and recorded phone messages to FHS parents and staff around 5 p.m. informing them of the situation.

“Due diligence today enabled this incident to be handled promptly with appropriate actions by FHS staff,” the message stated, adding, “This serves as a good reminder to all of us to talk to our students, know where they are at all times, and report any suspicious activity.”

A copy of the letter school administrators released is below:

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