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Arrested Bronx Guild HS Principal, Student And School Aide To Appear In Court

The principal, a student and a school aide from Bronx Guild High School appear in court today after they were arrested and removed from their positions at the school last month.

The New York Civil Liberties Union joined the attorneys for the three and City Council Member Eva Moskowitz on the steps of Bronx Supreme Court before the hearing to assess the case, to show how the NYPD’s actions overstepped the principal’s authority, and to call once again for the reinstatement of the three to their school.

“We are troubled by the removal of the principal and school aide from their positions and seek their prompt return to the Bronx Guild community,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. “While New York Education Law clearly establishes principals’ authority over their schools, there are deficiencies and contradictions in governance of the schools in the Chancellor’s Regulations and the NYPD Patrol Guide that must be corrected.”

The incident for which they were arrested took place at the non-impact Bronx Guild High School, which is housed within impact school Adlai Stevenson High School. On February 3, 2005, a student left her classroom without permission and was being escorted back by a school aide. The student reportedly triggered Officer Juan Gonzalez’ attention by making a loud statement in the hallway, which is against school rules but is not against the law. Officer Gonzalez rejected a suggestion to have the principal handle the situation and announced that he would get the student from the classroom himself if the school official did not.

Officer Gonzalez barged into the classroom without permission from Principal Michael Soguero in order to arrest the student. In doing so, Officer Juan Gonzalez disrupted the educational process, alarmed students, leading to the arrest of the student, Principal Soguero and School Aide James Burgos while they were trying to do their jobs as educators. The student was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct and spent 2 days in jail. Soguero and Burgos, who each spent one day in jail, were removed from their positions at the school.

Council Member Eva Moskowitz, Chair, City Council Education Committee said, “The arrest of Principal Michael Soguero highlights a fundamental lack of coordination and communication between school leadership, school safety agents, and school-assigned police officers. In instituting the ‘impact schools’ program, it is clear the Department of Education has not adequately addressed the need for formal guidelines and training to define the relationship between school administrators and school safety personnel. As a result, administrators and school safety are at best not working collaboratively. At worst, arrests are being made.”

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