The 16-year-old boys posed for the photograph last Wednesday around noon at a bathroom at the school, located at 1000 Cayuga Ave. near the Balboa Park BART station, police Officer Albie Esparza said.
The next day, a student saw the picture posted on Facebook and told an administrator, according to Gentle Blythe, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Unified School District.
School officials called police and the students’ families.
The students were detained and searched, but no weapons were found on them, Blythe said.
The pair admitted to committing the incident the day before and they were arrested, Blythe said.
The boys have been “cooperative and forthcoming” in the investigation, Esparza said. They were cited and released to their families.
According to Blythe, it was determined the gun belonged to a family member of one of the students and that it does not appear the students were planning on using the weapon for any purpose other than the photograph.
Esparza said police searched the home of one of the boys and found a rifle, pellet gun and the handgun used in the photo. All three weapons were seized by police.
The family did not know the boy had taken the weapon and no family members were arrested in connection with the incident, Esparza said.
The two students are facing mandatory expulsion following the incident and arrests, according to Blythe.
In a statement, Blythe addressed how the incident was handled. She said, “The students and staff at Balboa did everything they needed to do to ensure student safety. We commend the students and staff for safely resolving this incident.”
For at least the past 25 years, according to Blythe, there has not been an incident at a district school where anyone was seriously injured by gunfire.
She cited effective districtwide security measures and a culture of safety where students feel comfortable reporting issues to adults.