DAMSACUS, Va. -

A local sixth grade student was suspended and charged after school officials found a gun, ammunition and a knife in a backpack.

The Washington County, Virginia school district superintendent Jim Sullivan tells News 5 the student brought the unloaded .22 caliber gun to Damascus Middle School. We're told another student saw the shells and reported it to a teacher.

Parents were sent an email Monday afternoon saying the situation continued to be handled in an appropriate and careful manner.

Sullivan says the school district takes precautions to prevent incident, and this was an example of the safety program working. "It encourages students to report. The slogan is 'say what you see, tell what you know.' That's exactly what This student did," he said.

Sullivan also explained why the school wasn't locked down during the incident. "Our schools are very safe," he said. "There was never any immediate danger. If there was, we would have locked down, but we didn't need to do that at all."

We're told the student was suspended from school and has been charged with possession of a firearm on school campus, which is a felony and a misdemeanor of having a knife on a school campus.