Assault charge dropped against former Sandburg principal

Sandburg Middle School

An assault charge against former Carl Sandburg Middle School principal Terrence Yarborough was dropped late last month.

Yarborough had been accused of smacking a 13-year-old girl on her bottom during an incident at the school last April. After an investigation, Fairfax County Police filed misdemeanor assault and battery charges against Yarborough in July. The charges were dropped at a Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court hearing on Dec. 29.

Yarborough, who lives in North Carolina now, said Tuesday that the incident that led to the charges was a misunderstanding, and he expressed a desire to return to education.

“The entire matter was unfortunate and definitely misunderstood and blown out of proportion,” Yarborough said. “I am glad to have this behind me as I seek to re-enter a school district and school for the 2018-2019 school year.”

Terrence Yarborough

Terrence Yarborough

Yarborough resigned as Sandburg principal in May 2017, approximately a month after being put on leave. No reason for the resignation or the leave was given by Fairfax County Public School officials at the time. The first public details about the incident were released in July when police charged Yarborough. 

Police said that Yarborough had smacked the girl after twice asking her to pick something up off the floor in the school cafeteria. The student reported the incident to another teacher, and eventually parallel investigations were started by the Fairfax County Public School system and the FCPD.

Yarborough said Tuesday that a Child Protective Services investigation into his actions ruled “no finding.”

Asked if he though he had been treated fairly during the investigations, Yarborough said he understood the county’s need to protect students, but questioned why more witnesses were not interviewed.

“I don’t know everyone that FCPS interviewed, I will say that I know a few people they did not and who were present when this alleged incident occurred. Is that fair?” Yarborough said. “I also recognize that the district was trying to protect its students from potential harm. I stand by the fact that I did not harm anyone nor did I attempt to do so.”

Yarborough had been principal at Sandburg since 2010. Many current and former parents of students at the Fort Hunt-area school supported him after he was put on leave, starting an online petition that eventually received 277 signatures. 

“I appreciate the enormous support by the entire school community and I wish students, staff, and the great Fort Hunt community all the best for this year and going forward,” said Yarborough.