A teacher found the weapon two weeks ago in the boy's backpack and confiscated it without incident. The child told the teacher his father, Tantalus Prentice Toussaint, had put it there because the two needed protection after a man Toussaint previously shot threatened retribution, the website www.tcpalm.com reported.
The boy slipped out of the school with his father before police could apprehend the man, but authorities caught up with him later that morning after a tip from the boy's aunt.
Toussaint was charged with child neglect and police said more charges are pending. He is being held in lieu of $15,000 bail.