New Jersey High School principal arrested; facing several charges

A New Jersey high school principal was arrested on Monday and is facing several charges, including assaulting a student last year.

Sanchez appeared before an Essex County judge Tuesday on child endangerment charges. 

"I was really in shock when we got that news. We heard rumors last year about it, but we're like, oh it's just Columbia just talking about nonsense," a student said. "Now that it's brought to light, we're like whoa, this is actually serious."

"He is a pretty chill person. Even most of the students call him by his first name, Frank," another student said.

Columbia High School Principal Frank Sanchez is facing serious allegations. Back in 2023, Sanchez attempted to break up a fight between two 10th-grade girls.

FOX 5 was told, that in the process of separating the girls, he allegedly handled one student, inappropriately. The allegation is not sexual and there’s no accusation of sexual misconduct.

"Just because he's breaking up someone fighting, I don't think that's right if they did accuse him," a parent said.

He faces a maximum of 10 years behind bars if he’s convicted of this crime.

"I think he was just doing his job in a sense," a student said.

Sanchez's contract was recently renewed by the district.

He’s been on paid leave since Jan 2. 

There had been hope at the last board meeting that he would be returning to his post, soon, but a warrant was issued for his arrest Friday.

For a school known for its academics, band, and sports programs this came as a tidal surprise.

"I question the story entirely. My granddaughter goes here and had nothing but positive things to say about him," a woman said.

Sanchez was released on level one monitoring, meaning he had to check in monthly with the courts. 

The next step will be putting his case before a grand jury, which could take months.