A student was found with a loaded handgun in his book bag at a Gwinnett County high school Monday.
The student, Clifton Woods, was arrested and will face criminal charges, Meadowcreek High School administrators wrote in a letter to parents.
A school resource officer first saw the 17-year-old student with an e-cigarette in his possession, the school said. The officer then searched the student and found the handgun.
"We understand that this is an unsettling situation ... weapons have no place in a school. That is why we are concerned and take this type of situation very seriously. However, it is important that we never lose sight that the vast majority of our students follow school rules and that they, in fact, play a critical role in keeping our school safe," Principal Tommy T. Welch said in a letter sent to parents.
Meadowcreek is located in Norcross.
HAPPENING NOW: HS student makes first court appearance on charge of bringing a loaded handgun to school in Gwinnett County. I’ll have reaction from classmates live at 4pm. pic.twitter.com/XmM3gaqEyN— Tom Regan (@tomreganWSB) January 15, 2019
“It was in his book bag, they found a handgun, a handgun in his book bag," said Bernard Watson with Gwinnett County Schools. "There were two rounds of ammunition in the book bag with the gun.”
In the courtroom, school officials emphasized the student did not make threats to any students or staff.
"This student did not pull out the gun, did not show anyone the gun, and there was no evidence he had plans to use the gun or threaten anyone on campus,” Watson said.
Even so, other students say they still felt vulnerable.
"There’s so many kids. With all these school shootings, anyone could get hurt," said student Jenny Herrerra.
Following Woods' arrest on campus, the principal sent out an email to parents to advise them on what happened, and assure them student safety is the top priority.
"We have two SROs at all of our schools. And this is why we have them there. They're doing their job. We don't want this one student to taint negatively the other thousands of students who go to this school," Watson said.
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