NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A 16-year-old Stratford Stem Magnet School student has been charged with carrying a gun on school property after a loaded 9mm pistol was found in his backpack this morning.

Officers with Metro Police said they located the student outside his classroom on the second floor of the school after he refused to hand over a lighter to his teacher.

They were able to retrieve the lighter and escorted him to the principal’s office, where the gun was found in his backpack.

The teen reportedly said he was carrying the pistol for protection.