‘This event doesn’t define Seminole High School:’ Seminole board examining school shooting response

Seminole High says 71% of its approximately 4,500 students returned to campus Thursday

SANFORD, Fla. – The Seminole County School Board will be going through a series of debriefs after a shooting took place at Seminole High School Wednesday.

The board met Thursday to discuss what went wrong and what can be improved with their response to the incident.

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“This event doesn’t define Seminole High School and It doesn’t define Seminole Public Schools,” said Board Chairman Amy Pennock.

Pennock said the board has a long way to go to fully understand what took place Wednesday.

The campus was locked down after police say 16-year-old Da’raveius Smith shot 18-year-old Jhavon McIntyre at Tomahawk Hall.

Officials say this was an isolated incident.

Seminole high says 71% of its approximately 4,500 students returned to campus Thursday; parents telling News 6 they were comforted by increased security and counselors.

“There is like a feeling of relief because you know there is more police officers and stuff like that, she was all right with coming back to school,” said Jose Lopez.

Lopez says his daughter was shaken but OK, but as a parent, he still has some concerns with the school itself.

“It was all like a chaos, explained Lopez. “You really didn’t know what to do, when the kids were coming out, where to pick them up, so yeah they need to do a little better job.”

News 6 brought those concerns to Pennock.

“I certainly understand the frustration as a parent, I would feel that same concern, but please know our main priority at that moment is the safety and making sure that we have everyone contained in a safe manner,” Pennock explained.

Pennock said they can only relay information that has been confirmed.

The county uses Skyward and school messages based on their threat level, with “Red” signaling the threat level is serious and immediate, while “Yellow” stands for increased caution.

The district procedures stress for parents to sign up for notifications in case of any lockdown, whether it is real or a drill.

“Please if you are a parent make sure your information is updated,” said Pennock.

Pennock said this is only the beginning of the district analyzing what took place and expects many more briefings and meetings to come.

“We are looking at security all the time and until we can understand the entire situation and know all the facts, I don’t have the information to say what we are doing to update the security,” said Pennock.

During the discussion with News 6, there was a mention of metal detectors and whether the board was considering implementing them after this incident.

“We are going to rely on the advice of our partnership with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office and at this time those are not into consideration,” Pennock said. “They could be at some point in the future, but there are a lot of things we have to take into factor once you do move into something like that. You have to move into a single point entry which is for this size of school, for 4,500 people on campus, it could be a difficult process to manage; budget is also a consideration.”

News 6 will be keeping up with the school district as they continue to be debriefed about this incident.

About the Author:

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.