Frankford High student files suit against assistant principal, claims assault

Posted: August 19, 2013

WHEN Josue Ortega returned to Frankford High School after sick leave in December 2012 - following an alleged beating from an assistant principal at the school - his teachers weren't very sympathetic, a lawsuit filed earlier this month says.

Ortega, 18, alleges in the civil lawsuit, obtained by the Daily News and filed in Common Pleas Court, that he suffered from a number of injuries at the hands of the school's assistant principal, Edward Roulhac.

Ortega, a high-school junior at the time, suffered "a contusion to the orbital tissue of the right eye, cognitive deficits and posttraumatic stress disorder," according to the complaint.

When the Juniata Park student told his teacher he couldn't see clearly, she responded "use your other eye," the document read.

Another time, according to the complaint, Ortega told various teachers about "his inability to concentrate or understand the relevant material." Their responses included, "It's your problem, and you're not being excused" and, "I guess it's a big fat zero," the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit, which was transferred to federal court last week, names Roulhac, of Blue Bell, as well as Frankford High principal Reginald D. Fischer and Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.

District spokesman Fernando Gallard said yesterday that he could not comment on pending litigation.

Roulhac, who was laid off from his position in June, did not return a message from the Daily News.

The suit claims assault, infliction of emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty and failure "to provide necessary accommodation and support" to Ortega after he suffered his injuries, said Ortega's lawyer, Steve Barrett.

The assault at the center of the case occurred Nov. 2 last year, in the school's hallway, and was witnessed by many Frankford students, Barrett said.

Ortega was with a friend, identified only as "Rene," and Roulhac "initiated an argument with them," the document reads. At one point, the assistant principal "unsuccessfully and violently attempted to grab [Ortega's] hat off his head."

Later, Roulhac asked them where they were going, and Ortega answered they were headed to class.

"No, you're not," he told them and then pushed Rene, according to the complaint.

Roulhac, who is 6 feet 3 and weighs 220 pounds, according to the complaint, later allegedly told Ortega, "Give me your f---ing phone." He then forcibly removed it from the student's belongings, the complaint said.

Roulhac "then punched plaintiff in his face and then grabbed him and forcefully slammed [him] into file cabinets," according to the complaint. One school police officer told the assistant principal he went "overboard," the complaint said.

Roulhac, the suit claims, called the 15th Police District in the Northeast and "falsely" accused the two students of assault. He made the call without notifying Frankford, the principal or school police so they could conduct an investigation, the complaint said.

Ortega suffered "a traumatic head injury, neck sprain and spasm, facial twitching, vision disturbance," and other injuries.

On Twitter: @ReginaMedina


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