Former Carl Sandburg principal charged with assault for allegedly hitting student

Terrence Yarborough

Terrence Yarborough had been principal at Carl Sandburg Middle School since 2010-2011. (YouTube image)

Former Carl Sandburg principal Terrence Yarborough has been charged with misdemeanor assault and battery for allegedly hitting a 12-year-old student during an incident at the school in April. 

Yarborough is accused of “smacking” the girl on her buttocks April 4 after she refused to pick up an item off the floor, according to a Fairfax County Police press release. Yarborough had approached her while she was in the school cafeteria with friends, police said. Yarborough allegedly struck her after he had asked her for a second time to pick up the unnamed item, according to police.

The student reported the incident to a teacher after leaving the cafeteria, police said. The school’s resource officer, Child Protective Services and Fairfax County Public School authorities were then notified, according to police.

Yarborough, 53 was put on administrative leave shortly after the incident. At the time, FCPS officials would not give any details on why Yarborough was put on leave. Yarborough announced his resignation in early May, but did not mention a specific reason for leaving.

“I have been fortunate to have spent 20 years in public education, including the last seven years as your principal at Sandburg Middle School, and each day has been a truly rewarding experience,” Yarborough said in a letter at the time. “I plan to relocate to North Carolina to be closer to my family and I am looking forward to taking some time off before exploring new career options.”

At the time of the resignation, FCPS did not make any comments on the situation. On Tuesday, spokesman John Torre released the following statement regarding the allegations against Yarborough: 

“FCPS takes all allegations of staff misconduct very seriously. After these allegations were first referred to FCPS investigators, Mr. Yarborough was immediately placed on administrative leave on April 4, 2017. FCPS cooperated with police and child protective services during the course of the investigation. Mr. Yarborough did not return to the school and subsequently resigned from his position, effective June 30, 2017. Following due process, FCPS will pursue the revocation of his teaching and administrator licenses as appropriate, once the criminal case against him is adjudicated. FCPS is committed to ensuring that all students attend school in an environment that is respectful, safe, and where they feel a high degree of trust with the staff who serve them.”

Police say that parallel investigations into the April 4 incident were conducted by the FCPD and FCPS, and on July 10 a criminal summons was obtained for Yarborough. He reported to the Mount Vernon District Police station on Monday, where he was charged and released. 

Yarborough is scheduled to appear in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Aug. 4, according to police.

Yarborough began as principal at Sandburg in 2010. He was originally hired by FCPS in August 2005 and served as an assistant principal at Hayfield. He transferred to Robinson as an assistant principal in 2007 before getting hired at Sandburg. 

Following his resignation, many from the Sandburg community spoke out in support of Yarborough in an online petition that eventually gathered more than 250 signatures. 

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  1. David Kennedy