HARVEY, Ill. (WLS) -- Some south suburban students were honored for doing the right thing after they found a loaded semi-automatic gun.
Six students at Rosa Parks Middle School on the border of Dixmoor and Harvey were honored Friday at a special assembly just days after the group found a semi-automatic handgun loaded with 10 rounds outside their school.
"Six smart children saved our school district this week, and I cannot thank you enough," School Board President Bonnie Rateree said.
The grade schoolers made the unexpected discovery Tuesday morning as they headed to class. J'Chaun Lumpkin was one of the first to see it.
"It was up there. Somebody had moved it off the hill. Some kids moved it," he said.
Eighth grader Joyce Carter and others sprang into action to keep any kids from touching the weapon.
"No, I didn't think it was a real gun. But then, at the same time, I'm like, these are little kids so let me take this serious enough," she said.
"When she was like, 'everybody step back,' I ran to the office because like, it probably could have went off, or you don't know what could happen," student Malik Holton said.
Meanwhile, Malik ran back into the school to get help from teacher Paul Sanchez.
"I realized it was a real gun. You could tell by the weight of it that it was an actual gun, so I wrapped it in my jacket," Sanchez said.
The police were called and are now investigating.
"Just by leaving the weapon on the ground, not moving it, not playing with it, or anything else, that possibly saved lives. The gun was stolen out of Peru, Illinois," Dixmoor Police Chief Ronnie Burge said.
Harvey mayor Eric Kellogg and school officials acknowledged the students' good deed with several gifts, including a pizza party and tickets to see the "Black Panther" movie. Parent Darius Lattimore beamed with pride when he spoke of the children's actions.
"That guy got my heart, you know. I couldn't be any more prouder," he said.
City officials have also proclaimed Monday to be a special day for the students - not only to acknowledge their good deed, but also to encourage others to do the same.
South suburban students honored for alerting teacher to loaded gun outside school