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Ormond Beach Observer Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 1 month ago

Three juveniles facing felonies after firecracker incident at Mainland High School

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Volusia County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Fritz said the students will likely be expelled.
by: Jarleene Almenas Associate Editor

Three Mainland High School freshmen have been arrested for setting off firecrackers in a stairwell during the school's lunch period on Thursday, Feb. 13, Daytona Beach Police reported.

DBPD reported that emergency calls came into Volusia County's dispatch center indicating an active shooter situation at the high school at 12:32 p.m. Between 50-75 law enforcement officers from DBPD, Volusia County Sheriff's Office, Volusia County Beach Safety and Ormond Beach Police responded, and it was quickly determined there was no shooter on campus, nor had a gun been shot. 

Officers discovered the firecrackers inside a stairwell and were able to identify the students behind the incident. All are juveniles, DBPD reported. Volusia County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Fritz held a press conference at 4 p.m. to address the situation, saying that the School District will take "stern action" against the students, which are likely to be expelled in addition to the criminal charges. 

“This is not funny," Fritz said. "This is something very severe. This is something that caused a panic and they should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.”

Michelle Newman, head of safety and security for Volusia County Schools, and Volusia County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Fritz. Photo by Jarleene Almenas

Community Information Services Director Kelly Schulz said two messages were sent out to parents via voicemail and text messaging, letting them know of the initial lockdown and the all-clear.

The school's principal, staff and deputy acted quickly, Fritz said. Students were gathered and secured in classrooms, though some did run out the front of the school, a plausible reaction to thinking you've heard gunshots, he added. 

Volusia County Schools is always looking at ways to improve security and student safety, which is why it recently hired Michelle Newman, who is the new head of safety and security for Volusia County Schools.

“I think we’re doing everything we possibly can to keep our students safe and to be as proactive as we are," Fritz said.

When asked about his thoughts on this incident occurring the day before the Parkland shooting's second-anniversary, the superintendent said he was disturbed.

“It is certainly on our minds. Feb. 14 means something different to educators than it did two years ago," Fritz said.

DBPD said the three students will face a misdemeanor charge of disruption of a school function as well as a felony charge for bringing an explosive device onto school property.

This story was updated at 8:55 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, to reflect that all three students have been arrested,

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