Vandalism, threat reported at Port Orange elementary school

18 classrooms vandalized at Horizon Elementary, officials say

By Cathleigh Winningham - Producer, Loren Korn - Reporter

PORT ORANGE, Fla. - Port Orange police are investigating a threat to students after a child scribbled a message into a desk and vandals trashed 18 classrooms, displacing 360 students, in two separate incidents, officials said.

School officials confirmed to News 6 on Thursday that a threat was made at Horizon Elementary School. Port Orange police said a 7-year-old student made the threat as a prank.

The student has been suspended, according to a news release. No criminal charges will be filed against him.

Police said the threat and the vandalism are not related.

"Please know that the safety of our students and staff remains out top priority," the school principal said in a message sent to parents.

School officials said Thursday that three middle school students broke into Horizon Elementary School during the holiday weekend and vandalized the school. They are facing charges of felony burglary and felony vandalism.

A 12,13, and 14-year-old student are facing felony burglary and vandalism charges.

A parent wrote in a Facebook post that vandals broke windows and computers, stole personal property and school technology, and destroyed the children's artwork over the weekend.

Parents received a call from the school, addressing the vandalism but also thanking the community for the donations to replace what was damaged and stolen.
 
 "I'm glad they caught them and I'm glad they're going to get what they deserve, and they should," parent Jackie Cooney said.
 
Some parents believe the vandals should also be responsible for cleaning it up.
 
"Put the kids to work. Let them clean this school. Pick up the papers, rake the leaves, whatever. Let them have chores," parent Toni Griffin said. "Do what they need to do. Punish them."

The damage affected 360 students, although some were able to return to their classrooms Wednesday. Other rooms may take several days before they are fully functional.

A history teacher at a nearby high school said businesses, including Walmart, Chick-fil-A, banks and others, promised donations, including computers, desks, glass windows, textbooks, laptops and projectors.

Anyone who would like to donate to Horizon Elementary, is asked to call the school at 386-322-6150  or deliver donated items to 4751 Hidden Lake Drive, Port Orange, FL, 32128.

Supplies are welcome but monetary donations and gift cards are also appreciated to allow teachers to purchase specific items.

It's still unclear how much the mess will cost to clean up as the school continues to identify all the damage.

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