School officials and a school resource officer confiscated a stolen handgun Tuesday morning from a 14-year-old student in a classroom at Joplin High School, according to Capt. Trevor Duncan of the Joplin Police Department.

A statement emailed to the Globe by Sarah Mwangi, director of educational support and human resources for the school district, prior to the release of information by police said that another student notified a high school administrator of comments overheard concerning the 14-year-old boy having "a weapon" on school property. School officials "immediately apprehended the student" and called police, according to the statement.

Duncan subsequently confirmed that the weapon was a handgun and that the student was contacted and detained without incident.

"He was in a classroom with a backpack, and a gun was in the backpack," Duncan told the Globe.

He said the gun was loaded, but there was no indication the student had fired the gun or threatened anyone with it on school property. He said the question of whether the boy had shown the gun to other students remains under investigation.

The juvenile was taken to the Jasper County Juvenile Detention Center, where he was being held on a charge of unlawful use of a weapon. His name is being withheld due to his age.

Duncan said the handgun was reported stolen Dec. 14 from an unlocked vehicle parked at a residence on the northwest side of the city.

The school district's statement said the incident presented "no direct threat to the school or intent to harm."

"Police have assured us that it is safe to continue with our regular school routines," the district said in its statement. "We commend our students and staff for taking swift action and being an advocate for safety today."

Globe staff writer Emily Younker contributed to this report.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe. 

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