Authorities say a 36-year-old female guidance counselor was walking into P.S. 69 Journey Prep School when the suspect rushed in behind her.
It inside the school on Thieriot Avenue in the Soundview section at 7:40 a.m., before students had arrived.
The man, apparently the ex-boyfriend of the guidance counselor, started to assault her.
An assistant principal and a veteran fifth-grade socials studies teacher intervened and attempted to hold the suspect, identified as 23-year-old Claudio Villar.
Police say Villar pulled out a sharp object and slashed the teacher, Jaren Nash, on the arm. Hector Garcia, the 55-year-old school safety agent, also intervened and was slashed behind the ear.
“An intruder who is attempting to enter a school, according to preliminary information, attempted to assault a teacher,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “A heroic act by a school safety agent prevented it from taking place.”
The suspect fled, but Nash was able to give a detailed description of the suspect’s car. A responding officer spotted the vehicle and pulled Villar over on the other side of the school.
Both the school safety agent and the teacher were taken to Jacobi Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
“Violence has absolutely no place in our schools, and this senseless act against an essential member of our school community is unacceptable,” Schools Chanceller David Banks said. “Our incredible educators and School Safety Agents work every day to keep our children safe, and I am grateful for their steadfast dedication to our schools. We are offering supports to this school community.”
Villar was taken into custody.
“This recent incident highlights why we need to have a full contingent of school safety agents,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said. “We are down at least 2,000 safety agents from where we should be. Today, we are grateful to the teacher and school safety agent at PS 69 for stepping in to protect their colleague and thankful that no one was more seriously injured.”
The NYC School Safety Coalition also released a statement on the slashing.
“There have been 41 assaults on School Safety Agents during this school year,” it read. “This is an increase of 30% compared to the previous school year. Last week, another School Safety Agent was assaulted at PS 158 in Brooklyn. PS 69 and PS 168 only have one School Safety Agent in the building due to the severe staff shortage caused by City Council budget cuts. Many schools throughout New York City only have one School Safety Agent to protect an entire building of teachers, staff, and hundreds of students. At our press conference on Monday, April 11th, we called on Mayor Eric Adams to increase the number of School Safety Agents inside our school buildings, as well as increase the number of Neighborhood Coordination Officers and Youth Coordination Officers outside our schools. The shortage of School Safety Agents jeopardizes the safety of our children, teachers, and all school staff. We call on Mayor Adams to please protect our children and hire more School Safety Agents.”
Villar is charged with assault, obstruction of governmental administration, and criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds.
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