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A stepfather is in jail on charges of felony domestic violence after a DeLand Middle School school resource officer noticed bruises on a 14-year-old student.

According to the charging affidavit, the child had earlier talked about her troubles with a school guidance counselor, who determined it was “simply parental discipline.”

The resource officer noticed the bruises a few days later, and informed the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated.

According to the police report, during an interview, the 39-year-old stepfather admitted to “whooping” the child with a belt to keep her from misbehaving.

Digital photographs from the night of the incident, March 10, and from March 16, when deputies investigated, indicated deep red marks and lacerations consistent with a metal belt buckle on the girl’s thighs and buttocks, as well as bruises on her arms, the police report said.

The stepfather is charged with felony domestic violence. He was released from Volusia Branch Jail March 17, after posting a $5,000 bond.

— Eli Witek

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