PARKLAND, Fla. – The 39-year-old principal of a charter school in Parkland is facing criminal charges after she allegedly brought two guns to school over the summer, Local 10 News learned Tuesday.
The guns were discovered on the campus of Somerset Parkland Academy K-8, located at 8401 University Drive, on June 2.
According to a complaint affidavit from the Broward Sheriff’s Office, which was first obtained by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Geyler Herrera-Castro, of Miramar, has been charged with two counts of possession of a weapon on school property and one count of crimes against a person – culpable negligence, exposure to harm.
The complaint states that on June 2, two guns were found inside of a conference room by two faculty members at the school.
The school employees reported the discovery and the BSO school resource deputy responded to the room.
According to the affidavit, the guns were found in a small, soft zippered pouch with handles, along with two loaded magazines.
There was no lock on the pouch and no trigger lock on the guns, authorities said.
Authorities said Herrera-Castro spontaneously told the responding deputy that one of the guns was hers and the others belonged to her father.
Deputies said the principal told them that she has had her father’s gun for a couple of years and claimed that she had put the guns in her car to take them to the post office and put them in a safety deposit box.
She said she believed they may have been inside a box in her vehicle and when other staff members were unloading her car, they may have brought the box inside, as well, the affidavit states.
But authorities say they reviewed surveillance video from the school from May 16 through June 2 and detectives could not find anyone, other than Herrera-Castro entering or exiting her vehicle.
Detectives said the principal was also seen carrying large bags and items that could have been concealing the guns.
According to the affidavit, the conference room where the guns were found was adjacent to the front office and could be easily accessed by students.
Detectives wrote in their report that based on the statements and evidence collected, there is probable cause to believe that the principal “routinely and willingly” brought the guns onto campus.
Parent Shani Buto spoke to Local 10 News, saying she was supportive of Herrera-Castro.
“I was saddened by the news,” Buto said. “We love Ms. Castro she is and was a huge part of Somerset.”
Buto said she and other parents want Herrera-Castro back.
“We have an interim principal at the moment and you can feel the difference with her not being present in the school,” she said.
Because the principal has a concealed carry weapons permit, she is facing misdemeanor charges rather than felony charges.
Her attorney told Local 10 News that while he did not want to comment directly on the allegations, he and his client have full faith in the legal system.