POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A 17-year-old student was arrested Wednesday after deputies found a loaded handgun concealed in his backpack.
It happened at George Jenkins High School when personnel received a tip that the teen had a gun in his backpack.
The school resource deputy immediately responded to his classroom and detained him. During a search, the 9mm handgun was found in his backpack along with an extra loaded magazine.
The kid admitted to possession of the firearm, adding that he recently found the weapon off school grounds.
"We have an absolute zero tolerance for weapons of any kind at school," Sheriff Grady Judd said. "I thank the tipster who alerted the school to the gun and commend the school personnel and our deputy for acting quickly and decisively."
The teen was charged with Possession of firearm on campus, possession of a firearm with altered serial number, possession of a firearm by a juvenile and disruption of school function. He had a previous criminal history for two burglaries of residence, grand theft, and petit theft.
Polk Superintendent of Schools Jacqueline M. Byrd released the following statement:
"The safety of our students and staff is always paramount. In this incident, our students did exactly as we instruct them to do they saw something and they said something. Then, our staff immediately followed procedures and contacted law enforcement. Our partners at the Polk County Sheriff's Office responded swiftly and thoroughly, which allowed us to resume normal operations as quickly as possible and with the assurance we were doing so in a safe learning environment. I commend our students, staff members and law enforcement partners for working together to keep our schools safe."