Representatives of North Chatham School said the girl was carrying a loaded .45 caliber handgun when she arrived for class on Wednesday morning, Nov. 7.
The Chatham County Sheriff's department was notified and the girl's mother, 28-year-old Idre Tania Moreno, was arrested and charged with failure to secure firearms.
The sheriff did not believe the child was planning to hurt anyone, according to CBS Charlotte. Still, the student has been suspended, according to the Charlotte Observer, a punishment that may last as long as one year.
The school sent a letter home with children to inform parents of the incident, as well as sending out an email alert and making phone calls on the matter.
"As you may have heard or read in the letter sent home this afternoon, we found a loaded firearm in a student's book bag before school began this morning," the email alert from school principal Dale Minge said. "It is important to us that you know how seriously we took this isolated situation and that we responded immediately."
The note added, according to CBS Charlotte, "Everything was resolved quickly without incident, and we have taken appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with state and local policy."
Not everyone agreed.
"My biggest concern is nobody knows what they did," Melissa Minor, a parent of two children at the school, told the Charlotte Observer.
However, district spokeswoman Beth McCullough told the paper that they did not need to notify the parents sooner because the situation had already been handled.
"We contained it as soon as we learned about it," she said.