Willie Vega, a 44-year-old teacher from Springfield, MA’s High School of Commerce has been charged with assault and kidnapping a female vice principal after receiving a poor evaluation, writes Jack Flynn at The Republican.
Police said Vega became enraged while reviewing his evaluation during the meeting at the school. Vega snatched the evaluation from the vice-principal, stabbed it with a pen and then crumpled it up, said Sgt. John Delaney.
“Mr. Vega then stood up and punched the vice principal in the face causing her to fall from her chair,” Delaney added.
Vega then blocked the door when the vice principal attempted to escape from her office. He then forced her to use a portable radio to call a police officer assigned to the school. When the officer, Jason Sleeper, arrived, the teacher had gone to another part of the building.
Vega was then allowed to gather his belongings before being escorted from the school, police said.
The vice-principal was taken to the hospital and released after being treated for a contusion on her face under her eye, reports say.
Vega refused to answer questions at the hearing based on advice from a teacher’s union lawyer, Timothy Collins. It is thought that Collins gave this advice as a police officer was present.
Collins said that since the school was declared underperforming by state education officials a couple of years ago, teachers at Commerce have been under pressure to improve student performance.
However, School Committee member Norman Roldan refutes this, rejecting the idea that the alleged assault was the result of a high-stress educational environment.
“I think it was just an isolated incident, involving one person,” he said.
Delany said that Sleeper could not have arrested Vega as the assault and battery were not committed while he was in the room. The kidnapping charge was added after the investigators spoke to the victim at length after the alleged attack.
“If Officer Sleeper had this information Vega would have been arrested on the spot,” Delaney said.
Vega has no record of serious disciplinary problems, but he could be fired for assaulting the administrator.
Vega appeared in front of a disciplinary hearing last week after Springfield police charged the teacher with assault and battery, assault and battery on a public employee and kidnapping. He is currently on administrative leave.