BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Four students have been charged after three handguns were found in a student’s bookbag at Sedgefield Middle School on Monday, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office said.

Three of the students were taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia and one was released to a guardian, according to deputies.

The sheriff’s office said the guns were found after a school resource officer met with a student and the school’s principal, Heather Ducker, on Monday morning about a student believed to be in possession of a handgun.

The student, according to deputies, was showing a firearm on the bus that morning. Once at the school, the bag carrying the guns was passed between the other students before authorities found them in a backpack in an eighth-grade classroom.

In a message to parents on Monday, Ducker said school administrators worked with law enforcement and took “immediate action” to conduct a targeted search.

“We are following all procedures as outlined by the district’s policies to address this matter, with support from law enforcement,” said Ducker. “With safety and security as our highest priority, we take all reports that pertain to the safety and security of our school seriously.”