Florida High School to Boost Security Following Week of Fights, Threats

Florida High School to Boost Security Following Week of Fights, Threats

“You must create a safe environment,” Superintendent Tom Russell said. “We want students to feel safe and we will not tolerate violence on a campus or our students involved with it.”

The Volusia County School District is re-examining its security after a series of safety and security issues at Seabreeze High School, including off-campus fights, a gun threat and an imposter on campus.

As a result of these issues, district officials are making immediate changes, including “proactive discipline” and a zero-tolerance policy for fighting. Students who haven’t complied or do not comply will face suspension or possible expulsion.

“You must create a safe environment,” Superintendent Tom Russell said. “We want students to feel safe and we will not tolerate violence on a campus or our students involved with it.”

Seabreeze High School will see other changes as well.

Each student will be required to wear a lanyard and a photo ID while on campus. Students who don’t wear their ID will have to sign in at the front office and receive a temporary ID.

The high school will also provide opportunities for students and teachers to discuss the issues they are facing on campus and any ideas they have to improve things. Russell hopes this will explain allegations from some students and parents that recent conflict on campus has been racially motivated, he told the News-Journal Online.

“I am not there every day,” he said, “but the students are and the teachers are, and that is a perspective that we have to drill deep for and understand, and then take next steps.”

Campus advisers and the school resource deputy now monitor the campus perimeter using four golf carts. Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach police are increasing their presence around the school, and new exterior fencing will be installed on campus in the next few weeks.

Teachers at the high school have volunteered to increase hallway and lunchtime monitoring and continue to monitor social media. The school is also reviewing the anonymous tipline app Fortify Florida with students.

According to students, off-campus fighting led to an unidentified student posting a threat online to bring a gun to campus Tuesday. Police said the threat was not credible, but it resulted in nearly half the student body—731 students—staying home on the day indicated.

Another off-campus fight occurred between students and two construction workers Wednesday, and on Thursday, an 18-year-old imposter who was previously banned from the campus was caught there, arrested and charged for trespassing.

District spokeswoman Kelly Schulz said that the new security measures in place will help Seabreeze High focus on healing.

“This was a big hit for the high school and their reputation, and they’re taking it personally,” Schulz said.

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