A .38 caliber revolver was confiscated from a student’s book bag at Gentry Middle School Wednesday afternoon, according to school and law enforcement officials.
The gun was loaded, although officials were quick to point out there was never a direct threat made against anyone at the school.
Surry County School officials and Sheriff Graham Atkinson issued a joint statement shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday, saying the gun was confiscated after school was dismissed for the day.
According to the statement Principal Paige Badgett of Gentry Middle School received information that a handgun was located in a book bag that had been left at the school. School officials were unavailable for comment at press time on how exactly Badgette received the information.
Upon investigation, Badgett confiscated the loaded revolver from a student’s book bag. Surry County Public Information Officer Sonia Dickerson said the situation was handled in a manner she termed efficiently and appropriately with the assistance of Sheriff Atkinson and his office.
Because the weapon was discovered after school was dismissed the campus did not go into lock down. Parents were notified of the finding by the automated telephone system after 9 p.m.
Due to the age of the student involved, no other information can be released by school officials.
Dickerson said school disciplinary policies will be followed in the process. The investigation is ongoing. School officials indicated there were no threats to students or staff on the campus.
“This is the reason we encourage everyone to securely store firearms, use trigger locks and store unloaded firearms securely as well as educate children about firearm safety,” commented Atkinson.
Atkinson said juvenile petitions will be issued by the department in relation to the incident and other charges could be filed depending on the findings of the investigation into how the child obtained the firearm. Bringing an unauthorized firearm on school property is a felony for adults.
Dickerson indicated that student safety is the highest priority for Surry County Schools and the Surry County Sheriff’s Office and said both are all working diligently every day to ensure the safety of children and appreciate the public’s efforts to work with them in this process.