WASHINGTON COUNTY, Va. - UPDATE 12/10/13: The child's mother was charged after it was discovered she left the firearm in the bag. Click here for more details.
Some parents are concerned after deputies say a sixth-grade student at Glade Spring Middle School had a gun in his book bag Monday morning. The Washington County Virginia Sheriff's Office is now investigating to find out exactly how the gun got in there.
Washington County Schools Superintendent Brian Ratliff tells us the student didn't know the gun was in his bag.
The thought of a gun in school is leaving some parents and a grandparent like Gerald Norris worried. "You never know when we could have another Sandy Hook," said Norris.
Norris tells us whether the child brought the gun on purpose or not, it still makes him worry about his grandchildren's safety. "There needs to be something in place for these guns to be stopped at the doorway. I think the school system needs to take an action towards it," adds Norris.
Kelly Holmes is the principal at Glade Spring Middle School and he tells us the child found the gun when he was unloading his book bag, then told his teacher. "They came up to the office, and upon investigating and looking into the situation the student did have a weapon in his book bag," says Holmes.
Holmes says that's when the gun was turned over to the Washington County Sheriff's Office; they then started the investigation.
Washington County, Virginia Sheriff Fred Newman tells us the gun was a semi-automatic handgun and there wasn't a bullet inside the chamber, but there were seven in the clip. Newman tells us if the book bag had been dropped the gun would not have gone off.
Sheriff Newman also tells us they are working to figure out just who the gun belongs to.
Inside the school, Holmes says they sent out e-mails and called the parents to let them know what happened. He tells us they also met with students and explained what was going on. "[We] let them know that if they had any concerns or any fears that we have our guidance counselor here, and if we needed to we could get them assistance in those areas," adds Holmes.
The school system wants parents to know they are doing everything they can to keep the students safe. They are asking for the parents' help to check their children's book bags and know what is going on.
Ratliff says the student will face disciplinary actions from the school.
Sheriff Newman tells us charges are pending for the unnamed gun owner.