A middle-school teacher suspended for reportedly hitting a student barricaded himself in his classroom Friday for several hours and claimed he had turned his computers into weapons.
Francisco Garabitos, 55, surrendered peacefully to police after about three hours. He was being held pending a psychiatric evaluation and charges were possible, said New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly. No weapons were found and no injuries were reported.
The teacher was being investigated for reportedly hitting a student on Thursday at the New Millennium Business Academy Middle School in the Bronx, but police were unsure of the circumstances and the city Department of Education would not give details. He was told not to return to school Friday as part of the investigation.
Garabitos, a computer teacher, arrived around 8:30 a.m. Friday. He locked himself inside his empty classroom, shoved a desk in front of the doors and claimed his computers were weapons, police said. He demanded the principal be removed and wanted teachers to be treated better, Kelly said.
The principal called police. The NYPD bomb squad responded, along with Emergency Services Unit officers, an elite team trained to deal with emotionally disturbed people. The standoff ended around 11:15 a.m.
Garabitos has taught at the Bronx school for the past three years and has been a teacher in New York City schools for the past 30 years.