12/19/2014 03:11 EST | Updated 02/18/2015 05:59 EST

Instagram photo briefly locks down school

Police say a student's online post sparked a brief security alert at a school east of Toronto.

The school in Whitby, which was not identified, was put on hold-and-secure mode Thursday while police investigated a photo posted on Instagram.

Durham regional police say the photo, which depicted the student holding a weapon, was more than a year old and was taken outside Canada.

They say there was never an immediate threat to students, but protocols were followed to ensure the safety of the school.

The student co-operated throughout the investigation and officers confirmed he did not own or have access to a weapon.

Police are warning the public that irresponsible use of social media can lead to criminal investigations when images or comments depict any criminal activity.