On Dec. 12, 1977, the Assistant Principal walked into Principal Ray Screws’ office, where an exchange of words took place, and he shot and killed Screws. He was found guilty of first-degree murder the following summer and given life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
According to news articles, Screws had called a meeting with his three top administrative aides and confronted the Assistant Principal, about allegations of misconduct with a 16-year-old female student.
The meeting took place about 30 minutes after school had let out for the day.
An argument ensued, and the Assistant Principal, who had entered the meeting carrying a metal box, pulled a chrome-plated revolver from the box and fired at Screws, hitting him in the neck. The other two administrators, Assistant Principal Tony Krapf and Dean of Students Emma Brown, ran from the office as the Assistant Principal fired three more times.
Brown warned others to “run for your life; He has a gun.”
Screws staggered from his office clutching his chest and collapsed on the floor of the outer office. Faculty members and a custodian attempted to administer CPR to keep Screws breathing. Emergency medical personnel from West Orange Memorial Hospital in Winter Garden rushed Screws to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 51 and had a career in education that spanned 35 years.