Update: The Hardin High School student who caused Hardin Schools to close Friday turned himself in Friday afternoon.
According to Big Horn County Sheriff's Office, Uttekaat Isaiah Jade Birdinground turned himself in without incident around 3:00 p.m.
BHCSO said he is being transported to juvenile detention in Billings. The investigation is currently pending.
Hardin Schools are closed Friday as the Big Horn County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate following a report of a gun found on campus last week.
In a Facebook post the school system says:
Due to new information about the student at-large, we will be canceling all Hardin District Schools tomorrow for the safety of our students and staff. We ask that students remain home and safe. The basketball games versus Shepherd are canceled for Friday night. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience with this situation.
Superintendent Dennis Gerke confirms the student is a 17-year-old Junior at Hardin High School. The student is identified as Uttekaat Isaiah Jade Birdinground.
In a statement, the Big Horn County Sheriff's Office writes:
The Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office is requesting the public's help in the apprehension of a fugitive at large. If anyone having information regarding the whereabouts of Uttekaat Isaiah Jade Birdinground please call the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office at 406-665-9780 or 911 immediately. DO NOT APPROACH THIS INDIVIDUAL
A faculty member at Hardin High School has been arrested and charged in this case. According to an affidavit filed in Big Horn County District Court Nora Bettina Block is charged with "Tampering with Physical Evidence," a felony, "Possession of a Weapon in School Building," a misdemeanor, and "Obstructing a Peace Officer," a misdemeanor.
The affidavit outlines that on July 26th administrators were made aware that a student may have a gun on campus. A school resource officer was notified and the student was identified as Uttekaat Isaiah Jade Birdinground.
Birdinground was on school grounds but was listed as absent for not having attended any of his classes. Birdinground was instead in the art room which is Nora Bettina Block's classroom.
When questioned about the gun, Birdinground explained it was actually a black blow dryer he had been "joking around with." The blow dryer was found hidden behind a chalkboard.
The following day on January 27th deputies returned to the school after a gun had been found. Block reported finding the gun while cleaning the room.
Interviews with students and faculty members on Monday 29th resulted in one student admitting he/she had found the gun shortly after Birdinground had been removed from the class the previous Friday. That student stated they had notified Nora Block who replied she would "take care of it."
Hardin High Principal Rob Hankins told investigators that Block came to him later and admitted to finding the gun, storing it in her desk that night, and placing the gun under a desk Saturday morning before notifying Assistant Principal Amberly Howe the weapon had been found.
The affidavit states that Block was again interviewed by deputies about the incident, but asked for an attorney when asked about the gun.
If convicted Block could serve up to 10 years in state prison and be fined up to $50,000.
A Hardin High School teacher is arrested after a handgun was found in a classroom.
On Friday, according to the Big Horn County Sheriff's Office, the school resource officer received information a student at HHS had a gun inside the building.
The SRO and administrative staff escorted the student off school property, but a gun was never found.
The following day, Big Horn County Sheriff's Deputies were again dispatched to Hardin High School for a report of a gun found on school property. When deputies arrived, they were shown a Glock 27 handgun that was apparently found in one of the classrooms of the high school.
The sheriff's office said Nora Bettina Block has been arrested on several felony charges and a warrant has been issued for another suspect.
The charges Block is facing are possessing a firearm on school property, felony tampering with evidence, and felony obstructing justice.
Undersheriff Michael Fuss said no one was injured or harmed during the incident.