NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A beloved charter school principal is now facing felony charges.
He’s accused of hitting a second grader with a door.READ MORE: Police Say Connecticut Man Attacked Ambulance Facilities With Molotov Cocktails
Jason Epting has been at the Harlem Hebrew Language Academy on St. Nicholas Avenue for less than a year, but he’s already made a mark.
“Jason is wonderful. You know, we love Jason. He stood at that door every morning greeting parents, greeting kids. My own daughter had issues with being bullied. He would take care of it right away,” said one parent.
After speaking with several parents, not one had anything negative to say to CBS2’s Kevin Rincon about Epting. So it came as a total surprise to hear he was arrested.
“If you mention this man’s name in Harlem, you will hear nothing but reviews of how he helped their children,” said parent Adriene Perry.
Web Extra: Read the complaint (.pdf)
Police say the principal hit a 7-year-old autistic boy with a door in late January. That student was rushed to the hospital with a cut on his forehead. He also suffered a concussion.READ MORE: 1 Injured In Manhole Fire In Midtown; FDNY, Utility Crews On Scene
Epting’s lawyer Martin Druyan calls the situation unfortunate.
“He actually loves this child. He has no animosity to this child. This is an accident,” Druyan said.
Druyan in part blames the 7-year-old.
“There’s a good possibility the child contributed to this by running into the door. We don’t know all the facts, and haven’t seen the video,” he said.
The arrest was made after school officials found a video of the incident and turned it over to police. At this point, only the investigators have seen that video. The boy’s mother wouldn’t speak with CBS2. Her attorney offered no comment.
Epting has been on administrative leave since this happened. He’s had no contact with students, and police have charged him with felony assault.MORE NEWS: Police: 2 Men Wanted In Violent Queens Home Invasion Stole $3,000 From Woman At Gunpoint