State officials to visit Avon Park riot site - FOX 13 News

State officials to visit Avon Park riot site

Posted: Updated:

Teen detainees at the Avon Park Youth Academy in Polk County threw televisions off rooftops, trashed furniture and burned the office that held the records over the weekend.

In the aftermath, state and county officials disagree whether the facility's staff was equipped to handle such a situation.

The school is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Juvenile Justice and is used as a rehabilitation and vocational school for moderate-risk young offenders.

Authorities say the majority of the school's students participated in the riot, which started just before 9 p.m. and quickly spiraled out of control.

The academy houses 138 kids. The more co-operative ones stayed at the facility to help clean up. The ones suspected of starting and participating in the incident were moved to Polk County's South County Jail in Frostproof.

Monday, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said the situation could have been kept under control if the staffers were equipped and allowed to use pepper spray.

But that would violate rules set by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice which subcontracts with a private security company to run the place.

"The juvenile practice is to not use Tasers or any type of chemical restraint on juveniles. That's an industry standard," said Wansley Walters, Sec. of D.J.J. "They can be dangerous."

"I philosophically disagree with them…and I would argue that I have 138 reasons why they need a different rule.," Judd said.

Tuesday, the D.J.J. secretary plans to visit the facility to size up the damage for herself.

Powered by WorldNow

3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices