"We got the call at 1:30 in the afternoon that the principal, while doing a check of the vehicle - related to another disciplinary issue -just happened to come across the gun in the vehicle," said Lewis County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Hill.
He said the principal had no reason to believe there was a gun in the truck, and was not inspecting it for that purpose.
"He just happened to come across it. And anytime a weapon is found on school grounds, school officials are required by law to notify law enforcement to handle the situation," Hill said.
The gun was a .22-caliber rifle, and Hill said there was no indication the student had plans to use it on anybody at the school.
"This is Lewis County. It's a hunting place. He just had it in the vehicle. There was never any threats made. The gun was actually not loaded. There was never any indication that he was ever going to try to use it on somebody. Simply having it in the vehicle, on school grounds, is the offense he committed," he said.
The juvenile was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon on school grounds, and taken to Boyd County (Ky.) Detention Center, where he later was released on bail. According to Lewis County School superintendent Maurice Reeder Jr., the juvenile also no longer is a student at the high school.
Hill commended the quick action of Lewis County School officials.
"Everything went smooth. Nothing was blown up out of proportion. This actually wasn't a big deal at all. It's just one of those things we take seriously. We just wanted to make sure the students were safe while at school," he said.
At this time, the juvenile has been released into the custody of his parents and still is waiting for formal judicature.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.