According to WTVR News on Tuesday, the principal of Huguenot High School in Richmond, Virginia was arrested over the Labor Day weekend just before school started. Jafar W. Barakat was arrested because of a domestic dispute, held in custody and then released. The Richmond School Board met on the first day of school and agreed to remove the principal from his position until this situation is resolved. In the meantime, he has been put on desk duty.
Court documents detail the alleged assault that happened when the principal met at Panera at Willow Lawn to return his two children, ages 3 and 5, to their mother. According to the document, the mother questioned Barakat about why their son had no shoes on and why someone had done their daughter's hair without her approval. The mother said she and Barakat started cursing at each other before she alleges Barakat threw pretzels in her face, called her the "b" word and then drove off.
The two are involved in a custody dispute over the children. Barakat has filed a number of complaints over visitation issues, and the two have a Sept. 25 court date on that issue. Barakat made an appearance in Henrico County Juvenile and Domestic Relations court Wednesday. The mother of the children has an appearance scheduled for Thursday.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the principal has been reassigned to non-school administrative duties pending the outcome of personal legal action that arose over the weekend. Superintendent Dana T. Bedden said Barakat would be paid and working but not in a school until a dispute between him and the mother of his two youngest children is resolved.
The mother requested a protective order against Barakat, but a judge denied the emergency protective order extension filed by the mother because of “a lack of evidence.” Barakat is scheduled to appear in court on the misdemeanor charge in October.
Barakat has served as principal of Huguenot since 2012. Before that he was served for one year as the principal of Thomas FitzSimons High School in Philadelphia. His prior career includes job positions within the Chesterfield County School System as assistant principal from 2008-2010. He served as the dean of students in Chesterfield from 2007-2008.