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Eighth-grader takes loaded handgun to school

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By The Staff

By CINDY SIMPSON

csimpson@roanecounty.com

Sheriff Jack Stockton has confirmed a handgun was found at Harriman Middle School around 9 a.m. Thursday.

“It was frightening, but I’m very proud of our students for them coming forward so it could be addressed,” said Director of Schools Toni McGriff.

The 13-year-old male student accused of taking the gun allegedly told police officers he felt he needed a weapon there after he heard others saying they were taking a weapon to school, Stockton said.

The student was sent to the prinicpal’s office, where the principal and school resource officer Jon French talked to him.

“He told Officer French some other kids were talking about bring a gun to school,” Stockton said. The student said he had felt threatened by the situation and decided to take a gun of his own.

 The loaded handgun was found inside a notebook.

The situation was handled without going on lockdown and without incident, unlike a recent Knox County school shooting in which a teacher shot two administrators.

“The students didn’t even know what was happening when he was brought to the office,” McGriff said.