NORTH PORT — Two Imagine Middle School students were arrested late Tuesday afternoon after an unloaded 9 mm handgun was found in one of the boys’ backpacks, police said.
According to an NPPD report, at 3:39 p.m., Imagine staff contacted the Police Department, saying a 13-year-old boy had the gun while in class. A student had reportedly notified his teacher that the teen had the gun in his backpack. During the investigation, it was discovered that another student, a 12-year-old, had taken the gun to school and had given it to the older boy. The firearm was not loaded. Both students were charged with possession of a firearm while on school property, a felony. They were arrested and transported to the Sarasota County Jail, where they are being detained by the state Division of Juvenile Justice. “The ISNP Upper Campus leadership team was successful in recovering an unloaded firearm from a middle school student,” Imagine principal Justin Matthews wrote to parents on the school’s website and Facebook page. “This quick action occurred with the help of our own students that maturely and quickly sought help from a staff member when they became aware of a potential issue on our campus. The leadership team was then able to immediately respond and take appropriate action within only a few minutes. Because of the close-knit family culture of our school and students’ comfort with being able to speak with school staff, we were successful in being able to quickly and safely handle today’s incident without harm to any student.” Matthews reminded parents it’s “imperative to regularly check the status of all firearms” in their home to prevent such events.
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