VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Following several recent incidents of students bringing guns and other weapons to school, including an incident in which a student was stabbed in the face, Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood urged parents to check their children’s backpacks and “see what the hell they’re doing.”
In a video posted Thursday on X, formerly known as Twitter, Chitwood wrote, “It’s time to step up, stay involved and check your kid’s room, bag and vehicle.”
Chitwood said there have been four knives, two guns, one simulated firearm and a stabbing in the last 30 days at Volusia County schools. Deputies said the stabbing incident at University High School in Orange City on Sept. 11 involved a keychain knife that was used during a fight.
“You need to take responsibility for your kids. Search their room, search their school bag, search their vehicle and see what the hell they’re doing,” he said.
Days after the stabbing, DeLand police said a child at DeLand Middle School had a gun in his backpack, prompting a brief lockdown.
Chitwood said it’s a felony to have a weapon on a school campus.
“Please do not let Sheriff Chitwood be their parent because you’re not going to like the outcome,” he said.
Nineteen weapons have been seized on Volusia school campuses so far this year, while there were 82 seized all of last school year, according to the district. That’s almost two weapons per school week.
“Our members are reaching out to us and they’re asking what can be done to ensure their safety which is a very reasonable question to ask,” said teachers’ union president Elizabeth Albert.
Albert said she has been asking the school board for metal detectors to be placed at school entrances.
Right now, Volusia County high schools have metal detectors but only use them for special events.
“Why couldn’t we take these tools that we have and begin to utilize them in a proactive way that would at least eliminate a percentage of items that don’t belong on our campuses?” said Albert.
That’s something Deputy Superintendent Rachel Hazel told News 6 is now on the table.
“Those have come into discussion for both short and long term and how many more would we need to purchase,” said Hazel.
She said it’s a logistical equation they have to figure out. Right now, they’re asking parents to check backpacks before kids leave for school.
“There are a lot of logistics that go into trying to scan 3,000 kids into a school and the different aspects that go with that,” said the district’s Safety Director Todd Smith.
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