LAKELAND (FOX 13) - A 16-year-old student at Tenoroc High School in unincorporated Lakeland was arrested Wednesday after a school resource deputy reportedly found a loaded gun in her backpack.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says other students reported to school administrators that their freshman classmate had a gun tucked into her waistband.
The school resource deputy went to the girl's classroom but did not find the gun in her waistband. The teen told the deputy she did not have a backpack, but her teacher apparently knew which backpack belonged to the student and pointed it out to the deputy.
Inside, the deputy found a 9 mm handgun with one round in the magazine and one round in the chamber, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
The serial number was reportedly scratched off of the gun.
Deputies say the student, who is already on probation for battery on a law enforcement officer and assault, became aggressive and resisted while being taken into custody.
The sheriff's office says her criminal history includes arrests for battery, battery on LEO, battery on an education employee, petit theft, possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, and violation of probation.
She now faces charges of possession of a firearm by a juvenile delinquent, possession of a weapon on school grounds, possession of a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm with an altered/removed serial number, disruption of a school function, and resisting arrest.
Sheriff Grady Judd commended the school staff and resource deputy on their quick response to the situation.
"Given the seriousness of this student’s criminal history and current charges, we are going to do everything we can to make sure the criminal justice system holds her accountable," Sheriff Judd added.
The Polk County School Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd issued a statement saying, "We thank Tenoroc High's students, staff and school resource deputy for acting quickly when reports surfaced of a weapon on campus. Through their efforts, the firearm was recovered before anyone could be threatened or injured. We will continue to cooperate with our partners in law enforcement to ensure our schools are safe places for learning."