THE BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) — A school and a community are calling a beloved school safety agent and a teacher heroes after they intervened when a man intruded into the school and assaulted his ex-girlfriend. Both the school safety agent, or SSA, and the teacher were slashed by the attacker, but are expected to make a full recovery.
Investigators say that a 23 year-old man entered P.S. 69 around 7:40 a.m., minutes before students started arriving at the elementary school. The man hit his ex-girlfriend, who’s a guidance counselor.
The assistant principal declared a lockdown, while the teacher, Jared Nash, 40, and SSA Hector Garcia, 57, tried to subdue the attacker, according to law enforcement.
“The teacher got into a physical engagement with the assailant,” said Mark Rampersant, the executive director for security at the DOE.
Seconds later, according to Rampersant, the man “then pulled a sharp object from his person, and [gave] a minor laceration to the arm of the teacher.”
“While the teacher had the individual pinned against the wall, the school safety agent received a laceration behind the left ear,” Rampersant added.
The attack left a four-inch slash on Garcia’s neck. Both he and Nash were transported to Jacobi Medical Center, where they were treated for their injuries. Officials said that the injuries were not life-threatening.
School families expressed concern, not only about the situation, but for the two injured men, as well.
Tiara Caraballo said that her 24 year-old daughter had gone to the school since pre-kindergarten, and that SSA Garcia had been at the school since then. She also said that P.S. 69 has always been quiet, and safe, and that Thursday’s slashing was an anomaly.
“Never had something like this happen before,” she said.
Rocio Rodriguez, another parent, said that parents either received texts or calls that the school was under lockdown at the beginning of the day. After she’d received hers, she said, “I came to see was going on. They said everything was safe, so I left my sons here.”
She and other parents said that it’s a very good school.
For its part, the school and the DOE expressed gratefulness to Jared Nash, the fifth grade teacher who not only intervened, according to witnesses, but also followed the attacker as he fled to his car.
Nash “got the make, model, and license plate,” Rampersant said, “helping the NYPD quickly apprehend this individual.”
There have been 41 assaults on school safety agents this year, according to their union, DC37. It says that the number represents a 30 percent increase from last year.
The information is part of the reason why Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks — himself a former SSA — have been calling for more of them.
“Our school safety agents are essential workers in our schools,” said Banks, at a news conference outside of the school on Thursday, “and there’s no greater example than what you saw here today.”
As for the victims, the guidance counselor who police say was attacked by her ex-boyfriend suffered bruises to the back of her head. She, as well as Garcia and Nash, were treated at Jacobi Medical Center.
None of the injuries was life threatening.
Families had kind words for all of the injured people, especially Garcia.
“I would like to say a big thank you,” said Cameron Sepulveda, a third grader at the school, “for keeping everyone in the school safe and out of danger.”