16-year-old student arrested after bringing gun to Sparkman High School

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. -- A 16-year-old student took an unloaded handgun to Sparkman High School Wednesday morning, school officials said.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office says one of Sparkman's school resource officers was alerted to the unloaded handgun by an anonymous tip from another student around 9:30 a.m.

A Madison County School's spokesman said school officials and officers acted quickly to locate the unloaded gun inside the student's backpack.

Brent Patterson with the sheriff's office says the gun was taken away from the student and no bullets were found. He adds that they were able to retrieve the handgun without widespread panic or a school lockdown.

Patterson credits the situation not escalating further to the student's tip.

"Every single day we preach to these kids: if you know something, if you see something, report it. Don't be afraid, don't worry about peer pressure or what people think of you, do the right thing. And luckily, folks, that's what happened today."

The student was arrested and charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon and transported to the Neaves Davis Center for Children, according to officials.

Parents were notified of what happened, the spokesman said.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office recently announced the addition of four new school resource officers to the school system in addition to the current 10 they have. Those four positions are being funded from Sheriff Kevin Turner's budget.

A Madison County Schools spokesperson says the county is working on plans to fund an additional three school resource officers. That will add up for the school system to have a total of seventeen SROs in 2020.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Sparkman Principal Chris Shaw said the student will be disciplined according to district policy and won't be back on campus.

"There's nothing more important to us than the safety of our students," Shaw said.

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