OAKLAND — Messalonskee High School was put on lockdown this morning after one student reported seeing a handgun in another student’s backpack during class, according to police.

School resource officer Sgt. Tracey Frost located the gun, which was a BB gun, about one minute after the report, he said.

School Superintendent Gary Smith said the school went into lockdown about 9:30 a.m.

“This particular style BB gun looks identical to a handgun,” Frost said. “At first glance, you look down and, holy cow, that looks like a handgun.”

The school called parents and alerted faculty about the lockdown once it began.

The student who brought the BB gun to school was a sophomore, but his name is not being released because he is a juvenile, Frost said. He has been suspended because bringing a BB gun to school violates its policy, but he was not arrested, as it’s legal for him to own one.

Frost said the student wasn’t displaying the BB gun or threatening anyone with it, and he said he forgot that it was in his backpack.

“I’m completely convinced that there was no criminal intent here,” Frost said.

The entire incident lasted 10 minutes and “the system worked great,” he said. Police train for such situations that could happen at schools, so Frost was pleased with how quickly they were able to resolve the issue.

In addition to the lockdown, the school lost power as part of a widespread power outage that began at 10:23 a.m. and affected 2,670 customers in Oakland, Sidney and Waterville.

The school district made the decision to release students at 11:30 a.m., as the schools had no electricity, heat or water. Frost and Smith both said Central Maine Power told the schools power wouldn’t return until 1:30 p.m., although CMP spokesperson Gail Rice said the original estimate was 12:30 p.m. CMP was able to restore power earlier than expected either way – 11:30 a.m. – by switching the feed through other lines, Rice said.

While the schools use public water, the toilets at some schools require electricity to work, so officials were “playing a time game,” Smith said. After meeting with the maintenance and transportation directors, he decided to send students home early.

The district will conduct debriefing on both incidents in the next few days to go over what happened and determine how improvements could be made.

The cause of the outage is unknown and still under investigation.