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Florida man trespassing on high school campus, entered classroom with knife says he was testing school’s security

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After a drunk man with a knife in his pocket walked onto Spruce Creek High School’s campus and sat down in a class on Friday morning, Volusia district officials are reviewing a “lapse of security” at the school.

Derek Marlowe, 51, told the school resource deputy he did him a favor and tested the school’s security, according to an incident report.

Surveillance footage showed Marlowe riding into the school on a bike at 8:37 a.m. by the bus and faculty entrance on Taylor Road. He went to the student parking lot and entered the campus from there. He went into a building, walked down the hallway and into a classroom where class was actively in session at 8:45 a.m.

According to the report, the teacher mistook Marlowe for an acquaintance, before realizing he was an intruder. At that point, the teacher notified other school officials who arrived to see Marlowe back in the hallway.

Multiple lapses in security made it possible for him to enter the school attended by 2,500 students: he went past the campus advisor, who is supposed to check all vehicles coming onto campus.

The advisor later told deputies she noticed Marlowe, but did not contact school staff by school radio or initiate a Code Red, or a lockdown. Instead, she contacted one coworker by cell phone.

The door to the building was unlocked for students to come and go, meaning Marlowe did not have to go through the front office to get into the school.

The classroom door, which is supposed to be locked at all times, was propped open because a student was using the restroom.

And when the teacher called for help, he did not say there was an intruder or call for the deputy to respond because he didn’t want to startle students.

After the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida lawmakers passed legislation that increased school security requirements, and Volusia County Schools has since spent millions of dollars and changed numerous policies in an effort to make campuses safer.

Marlowe was charged with trespassing on school grounds, campus disruption and disorderly conduct. He’s been arrested multiple times since 2001 and has been charged with aggravated battery, child abuse, drug possession and more.

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