SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Parents in a San Jose middle school community want to know how a man suspected of a violent felony within the city limits six months ago still managed to get hired as a teacher.
Special counseling sessions were held Thursday at Chaboya Middle School to talk about social studies teacher Charles So, who police say brought a loaded gun to school and who turned out to also be a fugitive from justice.
So was arrested on campus yesterday by San Jose police SWAT officers, who say they found the loaded firearm in his satchel which was in his classroom.
Police say So was involved in a road rage robbery incident last February at a downtown San Jose parking garage in which he allegedly assaulted another driver and took the man’s cell phone.
But it took until yesterday for police to track him down. By then, So had already been hired by the Evergreen School District.
“In short, we’re appalled,” said district spokesman Charles Crosby. “It’s disgraceful that a teacher, even a brand new one, would think that this is remotely acceptable.”
District officials said So was fingerprinted and passed background checks before he was hired during the summer. They’re concerned that his status as a suspect in a felony wasn’t somehow flagged by police.
“The fact that this wasn’t flagged is disturbing,” said Crosby. “And we will be following this up to find out why. I suspect it’s because they hadn’t identified him or that he hadn’t been charged. And this wouldn’t have appeared until very late in the cycle.”
Police were not available for comment. One parent who spoke to KPIX said more should have been done to protect the children.
“Someone has failed,” said the unidentified parent. “Someone dropped the ball on this.”
District officials said So has been placed on administrative leave. He faces charges of felony assault and possession of a firearm at a school.