Dead Shark Hung From Florida High School Rafters as a 'Prank,' Students Say

Sandbar sharkSandbar shark
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Five students have been identified and are facing multiple charges after a dead shark is found hanging above the Ponte Vedra high school's steps.

A dead shark was found hanging from the rafters at Ponte Vedra High in Florida.

According to local station WJXT-TV, the school district discovered the shark hoisted above the stairwell around 8 a.m. 

After cutting it down and removing it, investigators — including a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commissioner — identified five students allegedly involved, according to school officials.

According to the outlet, several people emailed the outlet photos of the seemingly gutted shark that had been circulating on social media. The outlet also shared speculation that it was a senior prank, as Ponte Vedra’s school mascot is a shark.

According to WJXT-TV, the district said it has turned over surveillance video to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office showing the shark being hung up, serving as evidence in the criminal investigation.

“It’s kind of gruesome. I’ll be honest. That’s a pretty big shark too,” said Julian Chandlee, a Ponte Vedra high school junior, to WJXT-TV. 

“It’s in the main courtyard. There are some steps that go up to the main hall, and that’s right over the steps, so it’s in a pretty major spot.”

WJXT-TV showed the photos to Jim Gelsleichter, Ph.D., associate professor of biology and director of the Coastal and Marine Biology Flagship Program at the University of North Florida, and he believes the removed animal may have been a sandbar shark.

“My gosh, the first reaction was, ‘How’d you get that up there?’” Gelsleichter said to the outlet. “Those sharks are very heavy.”

The sheriff’s office confirmed the incident is believed to be a school prank and that FWC is leading the investigation, according to the outlet.

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