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Gun in bag at school

COVINGTON -- A loaded gun was found in the book bag of a student at Challenge Charter Academy Monday afternoon, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

Three juveniles -- ages 14, 16 and 16 -- have been detained by Juvenile Justice authorities and charged in connection with the incident. Charges against an adult connected to the case are pending.

NCSO Public Information Officer Courtney Morrison said the NCSO received an anonymous tip that a gun had been brought to the school. School officials contacted school resource officers and immediately placed the school on lock down, according to Principal Ernetta Worthy in a letter sent home to parents on Tuesday.

"Through investigation, we were able to determine there was, in fact, a gun on campus and we were able to locate it," Morrison said, adding it was found around 3:30 in the afternoon. "At this time we do not believe it was brought to school with the intention of harming anyone. The exact reason for it being brought to school is under investigation."

Morrison said the investigation had not uncovered any information that any student at the school had been threatened with the firearm.

"We want all parents to know that this incident was handled in a safe, professional manner, and as a result, there was no threat to student or faculty safety," Worthy said in the letter. "Furthermore, it did not disrupt our learning environment."

One of the 16-year-olds was charged with possession of a firearm by a person under 18. The other two suspects were charged with having weapons on school grounds, possession of a firearm by a person under 18 and carrying a concealed weapon.

"We want to assure parents that this was an isolated incident and is being fully investigated by law enforcement," Worthy said in the letter. "Please know that our students' safety is of the utmost importance to me."

Morrison said further charges are pending.

Staff Reporter Michelle Floyd contributed to this article.