HALLANDALE BEACH (CBS4) — Students at Hallandale High School arrived to campus Tuesday after the long holiday weekend only to discover they have a new interim principal.

Darren Jones, the former principal of Hallandale High, was very popular at the school and was known as a motivator and mentor. But last week, Jones, 42, was reassigned to another school after he surrendered to police on child abuse charges after police say he beat his teen daughter with an electrical cord.

“It’s surprising and sad. He did a lot for our school,” said one student. “I didn’t think he was like that because he looked like a decent person,” said another.

Both students and parents came to Jones’ defense Tuesday.

“It’s hard to say on both behalf’s. I don’t think he should have been reassigned to another school. But sometimes, ya know, some kids need discipline sometimes,” said a parent.

According to a police report, Jones used a power cord to strike his 16-year-old daughter on her arms, legs, back and hands on Jan. 9. The girl sustained “distinctive” bruising and scaring, the report said. A subsequent Child Protective Services investigation found the action to constitute “extreme child abuse.”

Jones’ attorney said the father intended to discipline the troubled girl. Eric Schwartzreich said this is a case of discipline and not child abuse. He said it’s a family and parenting matter, not a criminal matter.

Jones was the second Broward principal to be arrested last week. On Friday, Coral Park Elementary Principal Amanda Miles was charged with drug possession. Police said they found marijuana in the bedroom of her Coral Springs home.


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