Spruce Creek High School
Spruce Creek High School, Port Orange, Fla.

Homeless intruder prompts Florida district to review security steps

Oct. 4, 2019
District says a man with a knife in his pocket made it into a classroom at a Port Orange, Fla., high school without being stopped.

The Volusia County (Fla.) school district will investigate the security missteps at Spruce Creek High School that enabled a drunken homeless man with a knife in his pocket to make it all the way into a classroom last week without being stopped.

The Daytona Beach News Journal reports that incident at the Port Orange, Fla., school highlighted several failures to follow security protocols that have been in place since the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Staff members were slow to call a lockdown and didn’t communicate with one another correctly. The intruder also encountered several unlocked doors on his way to sit down in a first-period economics course.

Interim Superintendent Tim Egnor says the district will be retraining principals and campus advisers on important security protocols, as well as making some physical changes to the campus. Changes include moving the guard tower that monitors traffic to and from the school, and eventually adding more fencing and gates. Speed bumps have already been added in the school’s entrance.

“No one’s rushing to judgment, but if after the investigation there is reason to address (employee discipline) then it will be addressed,” Egnor said. “We won’t run away from the issue.”

Spruce Creek senior Summer Lloyd was in the class, and said she was mostly confused by the incident. At first students thought the intruder was allowed to be there, because he sat down and talked to the teacher, and was wearing a collared shirt with a bird on it that resembled the school’s mascot.

But once students realized he wasn’t supposed to be there, Lloyd said they didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t until later, she said, that she realized what could have happened.

“It’s just, wow, that actually just happened and it could have been bad,” Lloyd said. “From a day-to-day basis I feel pretty safe, I don’t have any worry that something’s going to happen. But if something was going to happen, it would be at my school.”

She described a culture at the school where students rarely wear required ID badges, where it’s easy for anyone to get past the campus adviser in the guard house at the entrance, and where classroom doors are often left open.

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