No charges in shark incident at Ponte Vedra High School

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has interviewed or attempted to interview six males, ages 17 to 19, in connection with a dead shark found last week on the campus of Ponte Vedra High School. The carcass had been hung from the rafters of an exterior staircase.

Subsequently identified as a bull shark, FWC determined that it was over the minimum legal size of 54 inches and therefore legal to possess. As a result, no resource-related violations were found.

A St. Johns County Sheriff’s spokeswoman added that there would be no charges from that office.

FWC released its report Wednesday, May 11.

The shark was discovered by a maintenance worker after 7:30 a.m. Thursday, May 5. Within the hour, it was removed and taken to a landfill transfer station and then transferred to Georgia for disposal.

According to the FWC report, several students approached the school’s resource deputy with pictures and information related to the incident. Photos had been posted on the social media platform SnapChat but were later removed. At least one photo showed two of the teens later interviewed.

According to two of the teens, they went fishing at Mayport on Tuesday, May 3, and a man fishing near them caught the shark. One teen said the man gave them the shark, while the other said they paid him $100 for it.

The teens told the FWC investigator that they wanted to use the dead shark for a senior prank. Sharks are the school’s mascot. They said they stored the shark in ice at a third friend’s house, according to the report.

The first two teens told FWC that, the following night, they entered through an open gate at the back of the school with three friends, though not the teen at whose house the shark had been stored. The shark was then hung from the rafters.

The incident has been classified by the school district as a level 4 offense, the most serious category of infractions, according to the student code of conduct. A representative of the St. Johns County School District said without elaboration that “consequences have been applied.”

Students found to be in violation of a level 4 offense may face up to 10 days of suspension and be placed in an alternate school. They may also be subject to expulsion and criminal proceedings. If the students are seniors, they could face a loss of senior year privileges.

Because no charges have been filed in the case, The Recorder is not naming the teens in the FWC report.

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