- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

HARRISON, Mont. (AP) - A school in southwestern Montana is moving its basketball practices and this week’s games after a student who brought guns to school last year and faces charges for making more threats was released to the custody of his parents.

Harrison Superintendent Fred Hofman said Tuesday the school would move its practices and Friday’s homecoming games against Sheridan to Willow Creek, which is just over 25 miles away. Harrison and Willow Creek students play on the same basketball and volleyball teams. The girls’ team is 14-0 and ranked fourth in the Class C poll.

The boy was arrested in January 2013 after bringing guns to school just over a month after 20 students and six staff members were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. The boy said he wanted to show people “you don’t need an assault rifle to shoot up a school,” court records said.

The Associated Press is not naming the boy because he is a minor.

He reached a plea agreement in May that called for treatment and probation. He was released to his parents in December.

The 15-year-old boy was recently charged in Youth Court with felony intimidation for allegedly telling another student that he planned to go through with the shootings and blow up the school. He also faces an obstruction charge for initially lying to officers investigating the threats, Deputy Madison County Attorney Justin Ekwall said.

During a Jan. 15 detention hearing before a substitute judge, youth probation officer Sam Stockett testified that he believed the boy was a danger to the community and should be detained, Hofman said. A sheriff’s deputy testified the boy said he made the threatening comments because it made him feel powerful.

On Monday, the boy pleaded “not true” to the allegations. The county attorney’s office argued that it believed he posed a threat to the community and asked that he remain in custody. Judge Loren Tucker released the boy to his parents. He is to attend school at a day treatment program in Bozeman.

The boy’s attorney, Helen McCarthy of Whitehall, did not immediately return a Wednesday phone call seeking comment.

Ekwall said he understands the community’s concerns for safety, but noted there are numerous conditions attached to the boy’s release. He is not allowed on school property in Harrison and if he is out of the house, he must be within an arm’s length of his parents. Ekwall said the fact that no weapons or bomb-making items were found during a search of the boy’s residence probably played a part in the judge’s decision.

“We went through this a year ago and it was much worse a year ago,” Hofman said Tuesday. “This is really just a continuation of it and this latest deal yesterday in court pulled a big scab off what was just about healed.”