FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A Hallandale Beach high school principal has been charged with aggravated child abuse for allegedly hitting his teenage daughter with an extension cord.
Darren Jones, 42, reportedly admitted to hitting his daughter because he was trying to discipline her. He is accused of using a power cord to hit his 16 year old daughter on her arms, legs, back and hands on January 9th. His daughter has since been removed from the family’s home in Cooper City.
Jones declined to speak with CBS4 Sunday, leaving the explanations to his lawyer.
“This is a family matter, a parenting matter. This is not child abuse. This is nothing more than a situation involving an out of control teenage daughter and a loving caring father who is desperately trying to get his daughter back on the right track,” Jones’ attorney Eric Schwartzreich told CBS4. “There is a difference between child abuse and disciplining an out-of-control teenage girl. This is a case of discipline,” said Schwartzreich.
“It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback and for something tragic to happen and people say where was the father, where was the mother. This is a case of disclipline.
According to report by Child Protective Services Jones’ 16-year old daughter had visible bruising on her arms, legs and back.
Schwartzreich said Jones is cooperating with the police investigation.
“In today’s climate, if he sat back and let his daughter continue to spiral out of control, we could very well have had a tragic situation. Instead we have a pro-active, concerned father who is willing to do whatever he can to help his daughter. This is discipline, nothing more, nothing less,” said Schwartzreich.
Jones, who has been the principal at Hallandale High School for the last two years, bonded out of the county’s main jail on Saturday.
Jones has been temporarily reassigned, according to a spokeswoman at the Broward County District. An interim principal will be named at Hallandale High.
Parents and students were stunned to hear of Jones’ arrest.
“I watched him, he loves and cares about the kids and wants them to do the best they can do,” said parent Robin Henderson.
Henderson credits Jones with turning her daughter’s life around.
“He built strength in me and courage. It’s like I have a second parent, to watch me and keep me on track,” said Della Henderson, a Freshman at Hallandale High.
“He only did what any loving parent would do to help them understand there are consequences to the choices you make,” says Robin Henderson.
Jones was a middle school principal before arriving at Hallandale High. He’s credited with transforming that school, and has won several education awards over the course of his teaching career.
Jones was the second county school principal arrested this week.
On Friday, Coral Park Elementary Principal Amanda Miles was arrested after police reportedly found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in her home. Also taken into custody was her 18-year-old son, Michael Miles.
Broward County schools spokeswoman Nadine Drew said interim acting principals will be in place at both schools when classes resume on Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
(© MMX CBS Television Stations. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)