Grand jury declines to indict Columbia High School principal accused of assaulting student

Frank Sanchez is the principal of Columbia High School – part of the South Orange-Maplewood School District.

Matt Trapani and Ali Reid

Mar 12, 2024, 5:02 PM

Updated 31 days ago


A grand jury declined to indict a high school principal from Essex County who is accused of assaulting a student inside the school.
Frank Sanchez is the principal of Columbia High School – part of the South Orange-Maplewood School District.
He still faces a charge of simple assault.
Details about the incident have not been released. But a local advocacy group, Black Parents Workshop says it is providing legal counseling for the female student involved.
The student’s attorney says there’s more to the story than just the principal breaking up a fight and is making it clear this was a case brought on by the prosecutor’s office.
“It was clear they were conducting their own investigation. It was also clear they weren’t just looking at that, but other matters as well.” said attorney James Davis.
The group alleges there may be a history of abuse among Black students in the school district.
Sanchez has been on administrative leave since early January, but it is not clear if it is linked to the alleged assault.
The acting superintendent issued a statement earlier this year that read, “I am deeply saddened by the news of charges against the Columbia High School principal, the latest in a series of unexpected events that have happened in our District during this school year. No matter what our feelings may be at this time, our focus must be on meeting the needs of Columbia High School students, their families, and staff.”
Students at the school previously told News 12 that Sanchez was attempting to break up a fight between two students. Some say that they feel the principal is being wrongfully accused.
“We were really close so it broke my heart when I found out what happened yesterday,” says senior Kachi Ike.
“We only have a couple months left until we go to college. We really just want to see him for the last time,” says student Abraham Abbas.
News 12 was told that Sanchez was ordered to be released on a “Level One” monitoring, which will require him to check in monthly with Pretrial Services. He was also ordered to have “no contact” with the victim and anyone involved with the case.

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