A handgun magazine with live ammo was found Wednesday morning in a Harrison High School hallway lined with lockers, prompting an hourslong lockout and early dismissal for students.

No gun was found, and District 2 officials stressed in a letter sent to parents that students were never in danger.

Nevertheless, police were notified and officers, along with district security staff searched lockers, bathrooms, students and staff to ensure no one was in possession of a weapon, the letter stated.

“As you can guess, that wing of lockers was the first area that we went through,” said John Taylor, district director of security.

The magazine lying on the hallway floor was found by a teacher about 7:45 a.m., just as first period was beginning, Taylor said.

After the magazine was found, the school at 2755 Janitell Road was placed on lockout, according to the letter sent to parents. During a lockout, classes continue but no one is allowed to enter or leave the school. Students were sent home at 1 p.m., more than two hours earlier than usual.

“Please discuss this incident with your student and emphasize that it is against the law to bring weapons of any type to school,” the letter says. “Also, please emphasize the importance of telling you or a staff member if there is a weapon at school. In this way, we are all working together to keep our school safe.”

Classes will resume Thursday, with increased security at the school for the remainder of the week.

“Right now, we feel confident that our kids will be safe to come back to school tomorrow,” said Principal Peter Vargas. “With the help of our district security team and with the Colorado Springs Police Department, we feel really comfortable having classes tomorrow.”

Students’ safety is the school’s No. 1 priority, Vargas said.

“One of the exciting things is one of our kids shook my hand and gave me a hug and said, ‘Mr. Vargas, thank you for helping us be safe today,’ and that just kind of hit it on the head for us — our kids recognizing that we want to make sure they’re safe when they come to school,” he said.

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Ellie is a crime and breaking news reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

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