Police line do not cross
File photo: US police tapeReuters

A loaded handgun has been found in the school desk of a six-year-old boy at a school in St. Louis.

The child, who cannot be named, is believed to have brought the weapon to the KIPP Victory Academy charter school – where it was found on Tuesday (18 April) by a member of staff, Fox News reported.

The academy's executive director Kelly Garrett told the news channel: "My greatest nightmare is that students are hurt in the process of getting educated, so thankfully no one was injured in this incident."

Police launched an investigation after the weapon was found and the incident reported to the authorities, with the child's parents notified and the child temporarily removed from classes until the investigation is concluded.

The school also sent out letters to the parents of other students letting them know that a loaded weapon had been found on school premises but that no one had been injured.

The St. Louis incident comes less than a month after a six-year-old in California brought a real gun to class and gave it to another student – whose grandparent found it stowed away in his backpack.

Following a police investigation, it was discovered the six-year-old had removed the firearm from his parents' safe, with authorities removing four children from the care of their parents as a result of the probe.