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story.lead_photo.caption Jefferson City High School students head to the line of buses waiting in the loading zone Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, on Lafayette Street at the conclusion of the first day of school. Photo by Stephanie Sidoti / News Tribune.

No Jefferson City Public Schools students were injured Wednesday afternoon on their way home from school when a fellow student fired an airsoft gun on board their bus, JCPS reported Wednesday evening, though the district said three students were hit by pellets.

The district released the following statement on its Facebook page at approximately 5:30 p.m.:

"This afternoon, Bus 8 was delayed in transporting Thorpe Gordon (Elementary School) students home due to an incident of student behavior. The bus pulled over to allow law enforcement and district officials to address the matter. It was determined that a student brought an airsoft gun to school and it was fired on board the bus. Three students were struck by pellets, but were not injured.

"As always, student safety is a top priority for JCPS. We take situations like this very seriously and school district disciplinary policies will be followed."

JCPS Director of Communications Ryan Burns added "The incident is under review," and referred back to the statement on social media.

Thorpe Gordon dismisses at 3:25 p.m.

No school or police authority involved released any information Wednesday about the extent or scope of law enforcement's involvement.

It's not JCPS policy to comment on specific students' disciplinary proceedings, however, a "projectile weapon" is included in the list of state law-defined weapons prohibited by JCPS in its "Weapons in school" policy.

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State law's definition of a projectile weapon specifically includes pellet gun and other non-firearms still "capable of expelling a projectile that could inflict serious physical injury or death by striking or piercing a person."

The JCPS policy adds any student who brings or possesses such a weapon on school property — which also includes school buses — "will be suspended from school for at least one calendar year or expelled and will be referred to the appropriate legal authorities. The suspension or expulsion may be modified on a case-by-case basis upon recommendation by the superintendent to the Board of Education."

The district's discipline policy for "Student Conduct on School Transportation" states after a bus driver's report is filed and copies are to sent to the parents of the student who did not observe rules and to principals whose students were on the bus, "When the principal has determined who was at fault for the problems that occurred, it will be his or her duty to determine what action is necessary, and whether school bus transportation privilege is to be suspended."

JCPS contracts with First Student for its bus services. First Student did not have any comment Wednesday, and referred all questions to JCPS.

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