Teen charged after bringing phone case resembling gun to school
Note: Pictures of the cell phone case are at the bottom of this story as well as a picture of a pink handgun to show the similarities.
(DeLand, FL) – A DeLand High School student was charged Tuesday with disruption of an educational institute after officers recovered a cell phone case that resembled a novelty handgun.
At 9:28 a.m. Tuesday, February 20, two uniformed DeLand Police officers on routine patrol with the department's School Resource Officer, as part of Operation School Guardian, were informed by a DeLand High School teacher that a student had seen another student in possession of a possible handgun.
Officers took immediate precautionary measures and the school was placed on lock down. Once the student was located, the teen was taken into custody without incident.
The student was searched and officers found a cell phone case molded to resemble a handgun. Officers continued to secure the school to ensure no additional threat to the students.
The suspected student, who is 15 years old, was charged with disruption of an educational institute, a misdemeanor.
Police Chief Jason Umberger stressed the importance of communicating potential danger to authorities.
“We know that kids will be kids, but in today’s world we must be vigilant,” he said. “I want to express to all of our young people out there that they should always feel comfortable coming forward with information. Even if you’re not sure, we want to know. We don’t know what we don’t know, so whether a potential threat is made through Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or something else. Take a screen shot and send it over. You never know, you could be saving the lives of your friends.
Chief Umberger also questioned the need for cell phone accessories that look like handguns.
“It makes no sense that cell phone accessories are being made to look like handguns and it makes no sense that gun manufacturers are making fatal weapons into novelties like pink handguns. But this is the reality that we are living with and what my officers have to be aware of to keep our community safe,” he said.
“The timing of this incident is unfortunate, as everyone in our community is on high alert after the tragic events that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I want everyone in our community to know that we take threats to our schools with the highest priority and DeLand Police will not compromise at all when it involves the safety our students.”
The DeLand Police Department’s website is an interactive tool that allows people to make anonymous tips, view the latest news and arrests, among other things. For more information go to www.delandpd.com.
About Operation School Guardian
Operation School Guardian is a joint commitment between DeLand Public & Private schools and the DeLand Police Department. More information can be found about this program by visiting: https://volusia.crimewatchfl.com/delandpd/42614/content/operation-school-guardian