PORT ORANGE, Fla. (WESH) – A man who got on the campus and into Spruce Creek High School on Friday has sparked significant reaction from the school district.
Acting Superintendent Tim Egnor met with the media to say mistakes were made.
Egnor said there is plenty of blame to go around, citing multiple failures that allowed an intruder to get onto campus, into the school and into a classroom.
“That campus advisor could have used the radio to call in a lockdown immediately,” Egnor said.
The beginning of a seven-minute security breach at Spruce Creek High started when an advisor at the guard shack, who caught a glimpse of suspicious person on a bike, used his cellphone to call another advisor rather than use his radio, which everyone would have heard.
“That means there’s ample numbers of people. Anyone of whom could have called a lockdown,” Egnor said.
Instead, the superintendent said Derek Marlowe made his way into the school and into an occupied classroom.
Though the teacher in the classroom pushed his panic button, there was confusion in the front office over whether it was real.
After that came word of a likely intruder the radio, but there was still no code red incident called.
Instead, staff tried to handle the situation themselves in case the situation wasn’t real.
“Too many people overthought the situation instead of falling back automatically on their training,” Egnor said.
Investigators said Marlowe entered the school through one of several outside doors left unlocked for late students.
The unlocked door will likely have to be locked in the future.
Authorities said Marlowe got into a classroom that, though locked, hadn’t been closed all the way.
The district installed speed bumps near the guard shack Wednesday morning to slow the flow of traffic and will move the shack to a more central location.
The superintendent believes the lapse was a people problem.
“It was a breach, it could have been prevented and we didn’t because we didn’t follow procedure,” Marlowe said.
The school district has initiated a professional standards investigation. If any school personnel’s actions, or lack of them, are deemed substantial, they could face discipline.