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Hardin High School

Hardin High School.

HARDIN — An art teacher who is accused of hiding a gun she got from a student in her classroom is still on administrative leave after the Hardin Public Schools Board of Trustees postponed a decision to retain her.

At the request of the teacher, Nora Block, the board postponed the hearing on her employment until Feb. 21, said board chair Jodeen Marston.

That decision came after a closed-door executive session to discuss the possible termination of Block, who two weeks ago was arrested on a felony tampering with evidence charge and two misdemeanors after she allegedly hid the gun in her classroom overnight and turned it in the following day.

Block has remained on administrative leave since the incident.

District superintendent Dennis Gerke, who was not present at Tuesday’s board meeting, previously told The Gazette he intended to seek Block's termination.

The board also unanimously voted to expel a student. Marston declined to name the student, citing student privacy concerns.

Charging documents state that school officials searched a student in Block's classroom on Feb. 2 after receiving reports he had brought a gun to school. The weapon was not immediately recovered, but another student apparently found the gun and turned it over to Block, who left it in her desk overnight before turning it in the next day, according to the affidavit.

A warrant was later issued for a student, Uttekaat Birdinground, who turned himself in to sheriff’s deputies Friday. School officials closed the school that day while law enforcement searched for Birdinground.

“The student had evidently made a threat on social media and said that he was coming to the school that Friday,” board vice chair Jon Wells clarified after the meeting Tuesday night.

The board plans to perform a “post-mortem” on the incident in the coming months, which would include a review of the incident, how it was handled and what could be done better, Wells said.

“We do that with everything that happens, whether it’s a fight at the basketball game,” Wells said. “Our job is to educate and keep the students safe.”



Morning Reporter

General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.