Bigfork parents to be reassured it’s safe to send kids to school

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The ongoing concerns about a man some Bigfork residents claim is a danger to the community has reached the local schools.

According to Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry, the principal of Bigfork’s elementary and middle schools called his office after discovering some parents had stopped sending their children to school for fear of the man.

“I talked to the principal, and both he and the superintendent were very appropriate,” Curry said. “They were going to put something out to the parents saying they had discussed the issue with us and didn’t feel there was any sort of public safety threat.”

He added that his deputies had again stopped the man over the last couple of days and confronted him about reports of him being seen with a gun, and that the man responded by saying “I got a BB gun, I use it to shoot at pine cones.”

Curry also explained that putting a mental health hold on a person, which only lasts for 72 hours, isn’t as simple as some might think.

“We can’t just say, ‘You’re crazy, we’re going to put a hold on you,’” Curry said.

“In America, at least in Montana, it’s not against the law to be nuts. We don’t put people in jail for being crazy, we put people in jail if they’re crazy and have the means and make threats to harm others or to harm themselves.”

Matt Jensen, principal of the elementary and middle schools, did not respond to a phone message left for him as of press time.

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