Routine search at Sandalwood High turns up unloaded gun, knife

DCPS officials: Student also found with magazine containing ammunition

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A routine search Wednesday morning at Sandalwood High School in Jacksonville turned up an unloaded gun, a large knife and ammunition, according to Duval County school district officials. 

Dr. Saryn Hatcher, principal of Sandalwood High, sent a robocall to parents notifying them of the discovery.

"The investigation began as part of a routine search of students who were entering campus after normal school arrival times," Hatcher said.

As one student was being searched, Hatcher went on to explain to parents, a magazine containing ammunition was found, which led to Duval County school police stopping and searching the vehicle the student arrived in.

Inside the car, an unloaded gun and a large knife were found, Hatcher said. 

Both the student and the person who dropped off the student, neither of whom were identified, were taken into custody.

School officials said police are investigating, and criminal charges as well as school discipline are  pending.

"All students and staff remained safe throughout this time. We greatly appreciate the swift action of Duval County School Police and staff. We are also thankful for the protocols in place that led to this discovery,"  Hatcher said in the robocall. "As we work toward ensuring safety on our campus, we ask for your parental support and partnership. Please talk with your child about this incident, and continue to emphasize their role in keeping our school safe. We encourage you to monitor your child’s belongings and the items he or she may bring to school. Any firearm or weapon brought to school is a violation of the Code of Conduct."

The principal also said that because of the school's protocol of locking all school entrance gates, with the exception of the main gate that is normally guarded, officials were able to detain the vehicle quickly. 

According to News4Jax records, this was the eighth gun-on-school-grounds incident in Duval County Public Schools this school year. There have been six arrests.

Below are numbers from recent school years:

2016-17 -- 13 incidents, 17 arrests
2015-16 -- 10 incidents, 7 arrests
2014-15 -- 14 incidents, 19 arrests