Authorities questioned three Morristown West High School freshmen on Tuesday afternoon after one of them brought a pistol to school, according to the Hamblen County Director of Schools.
A student spotted the 9 mm handgun in a boy's backpack and reported it, according to Director of Schools Dale Lynch. Inside the backpack, officials also found a loaded magazine, separate from the pistol itself, Lynch told our sister affiliate WBIR.
The three students are now charged with carrying weapons on school property. One of the students is also facing an additional charge of consuming alcohol on school property.
"I'm thankful that our law enforcement acted swiftly and also thankful for our students," said Lynch. "Our students reported what they thought was a dangerous situation, and they let us know."
The school was put on lockdown about 2:30 p.m. for about an hour. Earlier in the day, students there had taken part in a lockdown drill.
"I was really confused, like I just didn't know what was going on," said Braeden Evans, a senior at Morristown West. "We had a lockdown this morning that was like a test so I didn't know if they were just testing again."
Students said they were first under a "Code Yellow" lockdown so teachers kept teaching, but then around 2:50 p.m., they said it was changed to a "Code Red" lockdown.
"They called for a 'Code Red' lockdown so we had to turn off the lights and go away from doors and windows and stay really quiet," said Josh Smith, a junior.
The names of the boys who were questioned were not released Tuesday. It will be up to authorities to decide if charges will be filed.
Lynch said he doesn't think there was intent to use the gun or that any plot was involved.
"We've practiced events like this, but anytime you have a real live situation where you have students and weapons involved, we want to make sure that we listen to law enforcement, and that's what we did," Lynch said.
No one was injured.