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District urging community vigilance after three guns found in Rock Hill schools this week

ROCK HILL, S.C. — A gun has been found on the campus of a Rock Hill school for the third time this week, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office.

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Deputies said they were performing a safety and security check at Rock Hill High School on Wednesday when the school resource officer was tipped off to a gun in a student’s car.

When confronted about the gun, deputies said the student ran away. The sheriff’s office said they know who the student is and are investigating. At last check on Thursday, the student was not yet in custody.

There was no known threat to students or the school, deputies said.

On Tuesday, a 14-year-old student at Dutchman Creek Middle School in Rock Hill allegedly pointed a gun at another student after a fight in the bathroom, police said. The gun fell from the students pants and was later found stuffed in a toilet paper dispenser.

That teen has since been charged as a juvenile with unlawful possession of a firearm on school property, possession of a handgun by a person under 18 and pointing and presenting a firearm, law enforcement said.

A day earlier, school resource officers found a stolen handgun in the backpack of a 16-year-old student at South Pointe High School, police said.

The teen is facing juvenile gun charges and his mother is being charged with obstruction of justice for not immediately turning over the boy’s backpack.

Before the most recent gun was found on Wednesday, a Rock Hill Schools spokesperson told Channel 9 they are encouraging the community to help prevent these situations.

“We’re not in this alone, this is not just the schools responsibility,” said Lindsey Machak, the district’s communications director. “It is the neighbor who may see something on their block, it is the teacher who might hear something in the classroom and it’s the parent.”

‘They wait until the devil comes’

On Thursday morning, parents in the carpool line at Rock Hill High School told Channel 9 they’re talking to their students about safety.

“Be alert, keep your phone on you and if you hear something, regardless of what anybody says, call home first,” said Mario Harris, whose daughter is a freshman at the school.

School leaders say they’re conducting random searches to enhance safety districtwide.

“We have a classroom randomizer at each of the schools, they pull out a certain amount of classrooms … that we will sweep through during our searches,” Machack told Channel 9′s Anthony Kustura on Thursday.

Rock Hill Schools uses metal detectors for special events and football games, but some people with kids in the school say they want those security measures at each of the district’s 24 campuses.

“They always wait until the devil comes before they start praying, they should have already done that,” said Donna Hernandez, a grandparent of a student at Rock Hill High School. If something doesn’t change, she says she may pull her grandson from public school.

The district said it is planning to discuss student safety at its upcoming school board meeting on Sept. 12 and is urging people to use its tip line -- 803-981-1159 -- to report any suspicious activity.

(WATCH BELOW: Source: Parent brings loaded gun into open house at Butler HS in Matthews)