Demari DeRue is a 16-year-old junior at Columbia Falls High School in Columbia Falls, Montana. She is an honor roll student, a cheerleader and a hunter.
On Monday, December 13th, she faces expulsion from school because, after a recent weekend family hunting trip, she inadvertently left her unloaded and secured hunting rifle locked in her trunk, and then drove to school Monday morning and parked on school property.
The expulsion could be for as long as a year, but any expulsion could seriously hurt Demari’s college plans.
Details of Demari’s situation can be read here: http://www.dailyinterlake.com/news/local_montana/article_30256480-0282-11e0-ac8f-001cc4c03286.html
School officials claim they have no choice but to expel Demari. But the facts of this case show the unreasonable nature of the “zero-tolerance” mindset. Further, both federal and state law give discretion to school officials to modify the expulsion provisions in the statutes.
The no firearms rules were created to punish students who present a danger or who intend to commit crimes; not to punish an upstanding honor student who simply had a memory lapse. Further, it was Demari who voluntarily informed school officials when she remembered she had left the rifle locked in the trunk of her car. It is appalling that Demari is facing expulsion because of her honesty.
The hearing for Demari will be Monday, December 13, at 6:00 p.m. (plan to arrive by 5:00 p.m.), in the Administration Building at Glacier Gateway Elementary School, located at 501 sixth avenue west, in Columbia Falls. If at all possible, please attend this hearing and support Demari. Politely tell school district officials that blind adherence to unreasonable anti-gun policies does not make our kids safer, and in this particular case, would be a grave injustice.
Let them know that the only reasonable outcome of this hearing is to completely purge Demari’s high school record of this incident, so she won’t be in a position of trying to explain a “gun crime” to firearm-averse review committees considering college and scholarship applications.
Also, please contact high school officials, the superintendent and the school board and politely let them know that you support Demari, that you oppose any action to expel her and that a complete expungement of her record is in order.