Principal Pepper-Sprayed, Shot by BB Gun at Bronx School

By James Fanelli on October 10, 2012 6:46am 

 Antonio Arocho, the principal of Banana Kelly High School, was shot in the buttocks by a pellet gun outside his school on Sept. 21, 2012. He was pepper-sprayed by a student on Dec. 5, 2011.
Antonio Arocho, the principal of Banana Kelly High School, was shot in the buttocks by a pellet gun outside his school on Sept. 21, 2012. He was pepper-sprayed by a student on Dec. 5, 2011.
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James Fanelli/DNAinfo.com

SOUTH BRONX — He runs a struggling city school, and has the battle scars to prove it.

Banana Kelly High School principal Antonio Arocho was shot in the behind by a BB gun two weeks ago, less than a year after a student pepper-sprayed him, according to sources. 

The stress has caused him to consider quitting, the sources said.

An unknown assailant fired the pellet gun at him on the morning of Sept. 21 outside the school as students arrived for classes. Arocho had to be treated at a hospital and missed an after-school staff meeting.

"[The pellet] apparently didn't break the clothing, and it didn't break the skin," a source said. "He just had a big bruise."

Sources said that last week Arocho considered leaving his job because of the incident, coupled with being pepper-sprayed in December.

During that attack, a student sprayed him and at least 13 others in the building's cafeteria and hall.

A source said Arocho has made enemies with some students since taking over Banana Kelly in August 2011.

"Juniors and seniors can't stand him," the source said. "He made a lot of changes that they are not happy with. They have to wear uniforms."

At the school on Tuesday, Arocho confirmed to DNAinfo.com New York that he had been pepper-sprayed and that he had been shot with a pellet in the back of the upper right leg. He said, after the shooting, he switched the school entrance that students use in order to beef up safety.

"I'm always here to ensure the safety of my kids," he added. "The first thing they teach you at graduate school is that unless you provide a safe environment, it's hard to learn."

He also apparently wants to stand his ground at the school.

"I'm here today. I was here last week. I hope to be here tomorrow," Arocho said, declining to elaborate on whether he plans to stay at his post.

Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said Tuesday that he would remain the principal of the school. She declined to discuss the shooting, calling it a a police matter.

 The principal of Banana Kelly High School was shot in the buttock by a pellet gun on Sept. 21, 2012. He was also pepper-sprayed by a student last year.
The principal of Banana Kelly High School was shot in the buttock by a pellet gun on Sept. 21, 2012. He was also pepper-sprayed by a student last year.
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James Fanelli/DNAinfo.com

Arocho said he has worked for the Department of Education for 16 years.

Banana Kelly, which has 408 students, was one of 24 struggling schools that the Bloomberg administration wanted to shutter over the summer and reopen with new staff.

The schools escaped the ax when a state arbitrator nixed the city's plan in June.

Additional reporting by Tuan Nguyen

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