SAN LEANDRO, Calif. - The principal of San Leandro's Bancroft Middle School has been placed on administrative leave following the audio leak of a teacher's alleged threats to one of the school's students.
In a letter to parents and to the community on Friday, San Leandro Unified School District Superintendent Michael McLaughlin acknowledged the "unprofessional behavior by a teacher." That teacher was removed from the classroom. The district has not released the name of the teacher under investigation.
Bancroft's principal, Valentin Del Rio, was not named in the superintendent's letter. However, James Parrish III, the Director of Family and Student Services, will be serving as interim administrator.
The incident happened last month. In one of several apparent recordings that was shared, the teacher is heard referencing his prior military career and telling the class that in the past he'd shot kids younger than a student he was addressing.
In the recording, he further expressed regret that he's not allowed to put his hands on a student. In one recording, the teacher is also heard warning another student about getting beat up in high school.
One of the 13-year-old students threatened spoke to KTVU this week to explain how he doesn't feel comfortable anymore following this incident. The school told the boy's mother that her son had been kicked out of class for not listening to his teacher. The teacher called campus security to have him removed.
"I know that having our district in the headlines affects every member of our community. Events like these affect everyone differently, and can sometimes bring up complex emotions around personal safety and disrespect," McLaughlin's statement read in part. "We are supporting the Bancroft community in working through this very difficult and disturbing situation. Our school administrators are also prepared to support you and your children, in the ways that you need."
The superintendent said there are limits to what can be shared during their investigation process.
"This may be frustrating if you have questions or want more details. I can say that as the superintendent, and a parent too, I am appalled and outraged by what I heard captured on those recordings," McLaughlin said. "I want to be absolutely clear that every child has the right to feel safe and respected at school. Knowing this, we will pursue the maximum consequences possible, up to and including termination and criminal charges, for anyone who violates those rights."
The district was apparently first made aware of the teacher's comments after several recordings of him began circulating on social media earlier this week.