After what appeared to be a handgun was found at Bradford High School on Wednesday morning, a 16-year-old was charged with possession of a gun on school grounds.
According to the Bradford County Sheriff's Office, a student showed the school resource officer and assistant principal a picture at about 10 a.m. of an apparent handgun in another student's waistband.
The deputy and assistant principal removed the student from the classroom, and a search of his backpack turned up a black plastic Daisy BB gun. The Sheriff's Office said it replicated a full-sized semi-automatic handgun. It did not have a colored tip on the barrel to indicate it was a toy.
Brad Smith with the Sheriff's Office said the gun most definitely looks real.
“As a law enforcement officer, if I confronted somebody with this firearm (I would say,) 'This is a real firearm,' and I would have responded accordingly,” Smith said. “Just the style that the gun's made in. There are actual firearms on the market that are eerily similar to this one.”
The arrest has students, like senior Bryce Jones, asking questions and saying they're unsure of what to do if the incident happens again. He said he only found out about the gun because his mother sent him a text message.
“None of the administrators locked down the school or anything, so we didn't really know about it,” Jones said.
A Bradford High alum, whose grandson now attends the school, said a lockdown is exactly what should have happened.
“I just wish they had tighter security at the school system, you know?” Debbie Cruz said. “Regardless if it was a BB gun or not guns are guns and are not supposed to be brought to the school system, not even a water gun.”
During questioning, the student said he brought the gun to school for protection, but would not go into specifics.
"I understand you don't feel safe, but you can't bring a gun, because that's going to make you look bad," student Jade Hines said. "You should have at least told someone. I understand you don't feel safe, but don't come to school, because you're going to put everyone else in danger too."
The student, who is not being named by News4Jax, was arrested, and his parents were notified. In addition to the felony charge of having a gun on campus, he was charged with disrupting a school function.
The Department of Juvenile Justice will keep the teen in custody pending prosecution.
The Bradford County School Board will also be handling any issues concerning his status as a student.
"Bradford County will not tolerate anything or anyone putting our children at risk," Sheriff Gordon Smith said. "I commend the young person who brought this information forward and applaud the courage it took to do so."