TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. -
"What happened is a shame, it really is, that someone's got to get to that point," said dad Jeff Hayward.
It did happen at Tarpon High School, where parents are just finding out.
"Freaks me out, really does and I'm glad that they found him before anything happened," mom Niki Klimis told ABC Action News.
Police say a student, a minor, brought a loaded .32 caliber Beretta pistol to his first period class. A School Resource Officer said the student tucked the gun in the right pocket of his shorts, underneath his jeans.
They also say the serial number on the gun was filed off, and the student says he found it in the bushes.
But someone else knew about the gun.
"For somebody to respond like that and that quick is definitely a confidence booster, you know, to feel safe with our kids," said Dad Tim Kilmis.
The Tarpon Spring High student body president said she heard about the arrest after school. "I didn't believe it when I heard it," said Mia Tsangaris.
What she does believe, an anonymous person at school trusted a School Resource Officer enough to report the gun.
The SRO pulled the student out of class, questioned him, and got him to hand over the gun without a problem.
"If there was anything going on at school, he'd definitely be one of the first people I'd go and tell, not only because he's a cop, because he's someone who, he's there to help people for sure," said Tsangaris.
Even a 6th grader who met Officer Mathis at his middle school agrees Officer Mathis is a great SRO.
"He just seems like a nice guy that you can trust," said Nick Klimis.
Police say the student admitted to bringing the gun to class for self-protection. We stopped by his Tarpon Springs home, but no one answered the door.
"Honestly there's no good reason to bring something like that to school," said Tsangaris.
Tarpon Spring Police arrested the minor for two felonies, possession of a firearm on school property and possession of a concealed firearm.
He was taken to a Juvenile Detention Center. ABC Action News is not identifying the student because he is under 18 years old.
The Pinellas County School District says they sent robo calls to Tarpon High School parents notifying them of the arrest.
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