Student cut with pocket knife in fight with another student at Volusia County high school, officials say

A student's face was cut with a knife during a fight with another student at University High School in Orange City, the Volusia Sheriff's Office and the school district confirmed.

In a letter to parents, University High School Principal Karen Chenoweth confirmed that two students got into a fight around the time school was let out on Monday.

During that fight, a student pulled out a small pocket knife and cut the other student's face, causing a "very minor" injury, officials said.

"The students involved have been identified and will be disciplined accordingly. The campus is secure," Chenoweth said in a message to parents.

A spokesperson for the Volusia Sheriff's Office said a student was in custody, though it wasn't immediately clear if that student had been arrested or was facing charges.

"As a parent, I understand this information can be unsettling. We will actively be reviewing the incident and ensuring an appropriate response. It also serves as a wakeup call. I cannot stress enough the role we all play in our children’s safety at school, and the role our students and staff play in safety," Chenoweth wrote.

Classes would be in session on Tuesday, she said, adding that the campus was secure.

She also reminded students that weapons of any kind are not allowed on school campus and those who bring weapons to school "will not go unpunished."

Here is the principal's full statement:

Good evening, University High School families,

I regret to share that administration and law enforcement have confirmed that during an altercation around dismissal time, a student received very minor injuries from another student with a pocket knife. The students involved have been identified and will be disciplined accordingly. The campus is secure.

As a parent, I understand this information can be unsettling. We will actively be reviewing the incident and ensuring an appropriate response. It also serves as a wakeup call. I cannot stress enough the role we all play in our children’s safety at school, and the role our students and staff play in safety.  

Weapons of any kind are prohibited on campus, and students who violate this policy will not go unpunished. It is vital that parents are aware of any objects your child may have access to and ensure they are not bringing any prohibited items to school. Additionally, any students who become aware of the possibility of a weapon on campus are responsible for reporting this information to an adult or to FortifyFL to prevent devastating instances such as this from occurring.

Again, the campus is secure at this time, and classes will resume tomorrow. I want to again thank our school staff and law enforcement who aided in this incident. Have a good evening. 

Deputy Superintendent Rachel Hazel spoke with FOX 35 News about the fight.

"We will be doing a lot of education with our students and we will also be talking with parents in the coming days about how to help us, because this really isn't just a symptom of one thing happening in one community."

Hazel went on to say, "It's not representative of who we are as a school system. And I think our principal is taking a pretty strong stance on that and is handling it well."

There was also a school board meeting Tuesday about the incident. 

Volusia United Educators President, Elizabeth Albert, spoke during public comment to the school board on Tuesday. 

She brought up the idea of using metal detectors more frequently on campus. 

Right now, the school only uses them for special events.Volusia County School Board chair, Jamie Haynes said, "we can not process 3000 students through one entry point with one metal detector in the morning and get everyone on campus and learn.

Haynes said she believes the school is disciplining students and making the message clear. 

"I believe we really are. We have cracked down this year. There's going to be referrals," she said. "There's going to be consequences. We have alternative sites. We have more students at the high based learning alternative site this year to start the year off than we've ever had probably in the last ten years."