Santa Clara's Mission College went into lockdown for about 45 minutes Monday afternoon after a cardboard cutout of a gun was mistaken for the real thing, a school spokesman said.
As part of a sociology of criminology class project where students were to dress up as criminals, one student wore a ski mask and carried a cardboard cutout of a gun, school spokesman Peter Anning said.
The student was taking pictures before the class began when another student panicked and called Santa Clara police at 2:47 p.m. to report a person with a gun, he said.
Mission College went into lockdown at 2:53 p.m.
Police located and spoke with the student, and the lockdown was lifted about 45 minutes later, Anning said.