Handgun found in student's backpack at St. Paul elementary school

School leaders found a handgun in a student's backpack at John A. Johnson Achievement Plus Elementary School in St. Paul, Minnesota Monday, according to authorities.

The school sent an email sent to families notifying them that an 8-year-old girl found a gun in her backpack and reported it to her teacher.

"I responded immediately, following safety procedures, and found and recovered a handgun," Principal Lisa Grunewald wrote.

The student's mother admitted it was her gun, but she did not know how it got in the child's backpack. Police are looking into how the student came in contact with the gun.

Gruenewald said no threats were made at the school and there was no intent to use the gun.

In response to the incident, school counselors will be available to meet with students.

"The safety of our students and staff is of paramount importance," said St. Paul Public Schools spokesperson Kevin Burns. "We are taking this situation seriously, and we ask our families and members of the communities to assist us by checking students' backpacks and other items to help ensure schools remain as safe as possible."