An incident is under investigation in Randolph County's Wedowee after a student was found with a loaded gun at Wedowee Elementary School.

Superintendent John Jacobs said the firearm was found Monday inside a backpack. He did not say what grade the student is in but said Wedowee Police were notified just after 1 p.m. when the school found out about the gun.

“A student reported it to the teacher, and she looked in the bookbag and took the bookbag and the student to the office,” said Jacobs.

No one was injured during the incident. Jacobs said the school had never received a prior report on the student and said no threats were made before the firearm was discovered.

“At the time law enforcement was notified about an incident of concern, everyone was safe and there was no active threat,” Wedowee Police Chief Robert Taylor told 1819 News. “There is an ongoing investigation regarding this incident.”

Concerned parents told 1819 News they do not feel the situation was handled properly. They claim they were not notified promptly and did not receive word of the incident until 2:20 p.m.

“There are millions of rumors out but the school didn’t know until about 1 o’clock when it was reported,” said Jacobs. “They went into a short lockdown as they investigated. They talked to as many kids as they could for the remainder of the day but at 1 o’clock, kids leave in an hour and a half so they did what they could at that time.”

Wedowee Elementary School and Wedowee Middle School were placed on lockdown due to their proximity. Jacobs said the initial focus of the investigation was to keep all students and faculty safe. The second step in the process is to notify parents because transparency, he said, is important.

Jacobs said he made an announcement around the time school let out, and then he made a video with information following.

“To the student who reported this to your teacher, thank you,” Jacobs said in the video. “You did exactly what you were supposed to do. To the teacher who acted so swiftly, thank you. Your training was apparent, and your actions kept this incident from possibly having a disastrous conclusion. To the administration, thank you. We appreciate your response and your leadership. To the law enforcement officers, thank you. We truly appreciate your presence in our schools. To all of the students, faculty, staff and parents of Wedowee Elementary School, as well as all Randolph County Schools, you should know that this incident was handled exceptionally well by all, and we are very thankful for this outcome as the safety of our students is our most important concern.”

The school system cannot release details about the student due to federal law. Taylor said the incident is pending in Juvenile Court and more information could be available by Thursday.

Possession of a firearm is a Level 4 offense, according to the Randolph County School system’s Code of Conduct handbook. Along with law enforcement involvement, discipline for these offenses is an automatic 10-day suspension and a recommendation for expulsion or ALC (Alternative Learning Center) placement. The specific punishment is left to the discretion of the principal, superintendent and/or school board.

Jacobs said the school system is following the Student Code of Conduct guidelines.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email

Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.