Kelso police arrested a 17-year-old high school student Thursday morning after school administrators found a loaded handgun in the student’s backpack, but school officials said there was no threat to students or staff.

School officials found the weapon around 9 a.m. while searching the student’s backpack during an “unrelated administrative investigation,” according to a police news release. School staff immediately contacted the on-duty school police officer, who made the arrest.

District spokeswoman Michele Larsen said there were no threats made to the school prior to finding the gun. However, she said student privacy laws prohibit her from discussing the administrative investigation that led to the discovery of the gun.

Superintendent Mary Beth Tack sent a letter to Kelso High School families Thursday afternoon notifying them of the arrest. Police investigation is ongoing, according to that letter and the police news release.

“The Kelso Police Department values the relationship with school district personnel and praise them for the diligence that brought this to a safe conclusion,” the release says.

Students who bring firearms on school grounds should be expelled for at least one year, according to Kelso School District policy and state law.

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