Parents concerned as photo of Sanford student holding a handgun circulates on social media

CBS 13 is blurring that student's face because he's a minor and hasn't been charged with any crime. (Snapchat)

PORTLAND (WGME) – A photo of a high school student holding a handgun is circulating on social media, and some parents don't like it.

In the world we live in today, parents call it scary and say the district should have told them about the photo and how it was dealt with, but the superintendent says there was nothing to tell.

CBS 13 is blurring that student's face because he's a minor and hasn't been charged with any crime.

Police say the photo of a 17-year-old Sanford High School student holding a gun was sent over Snapchat six months ago, with the message, “Don't mess with me.”

It re-surfaced over the weekend on Facebook, setting off panic among parents.

Chief Thomas Connolly says one of the parents called the school resource officer first thing Monday morning.

“Obviously anytime anything like this happens, especially in this environment, we take it very seriously,” Connolly said.

Connolly says it was investigated immediately. They looked at the child's home life, emotional health and behavior, but determined there was no threat.

“He never mentioned school,” Connolly said. “Never mentioned students. Never mentioned hurting anyone. Just made a dumb statement on social media.”

Meanwhile on social media, parents and citizens continued to share concerns, unaware what, if anything, had been done.

Sara Dunston has a daughter in the district and feels she should have been told about the incident.

“I think the whole entire school district, all the parents should know,” Dunston said.

Superintendent David Theoharides is defending the district. He says he only learned about it Wednesday.

He says this was done as a joke, although it will never be treated as one.

“Given the fact we did see this, I’ll be honest, I think that student or any student that puts something like that, we're gonna watch them that much closer,” Theoharides said.

Officials say they certainly understand the public concern.

The handgun in this photo was real, they say the student got it from his parents, but steps have since been taken to make sure those guns are secured.

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