By Ryan Yousefi
A letter addressed September 28 to Somerset Parkland Academy parents confirmed the reinstatement of Principal Geyler Castro, who had been reassigned for a year after a highly publicized gun scandal that significantly impacted the charter school.
Expressing gratitude to Interim Principal Meg Campbell, who had been serving during Castro’s absence, the letter stated she would resume her position as vice principal.
The controversy began June 2, 2022, when two guns and two ammunition cartridges were discovered in her possession — carried from her vehicle into a conference room at the charter school.
Castro failed to tell Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies she brought the guns and ammo onto school grounds. Instead, the educator told deputies it must have been the school staff members who unloaded her car who mistakenly brought the items inside.
Bringing guns illegally onto school grounds is a felony-level crime under state law.
After reviewing nearly three weeks of surveillance video, “detectives could not locate anyone besides Castro entering or exiting her vehicle” in the school parking lot, according to an arrest affidavit filed by the Broward County State Attorney’s office on Sept. 7.
“There was no lock on the pouch and no trigger lock on the firearms,” detectives wrote in the arrest affidavit. “The firearms were easily reached and accessed by entering an unlocked door and unzipping the zipper on the pouch.”
The morning of the crime, the two firearms were concealed in a pouch-type bag and discovered by the school’s activities director, Kaitlene Alonso, inside school conference room 100C at the academy at 8401 N. University Dr.
The weapons were a black Beretta 380 Cal semi-automatic pistol and a silver Jimenez Arms 380 Cal semi-automatic pistol. Two loaded ammunition magazines were also found.
Castro was charged with two counts of possessing a firearm on school property and one count of culpable negligence. According to the arrest affidavit, Castro “spontaneously admitted the firearms were hers.”
Amid the investigation into Castro’s case, it was discovered that a law enforcement official overseeing the initial investigation into the guns and ammunition found inside Somerset Parkland Academy attempted to keep the incident hidden from the public.
An internal study conducted by the Broward Sheriff’s Office revealed that Capt. Craig Calavetta, who was terminated at that time, wanted the Parkland District to handle the case ” in-house ” with minimal public disclosure.
Calavetta allegedly instructed detectives investigating the gun case to keep details “on the down low” and to “keep this quiet” by writing reports with vague or missing language.
The internal investigation also uncovered previous misconduct and cover-up attempts by Calavetta in other criminal cases.
At the time of Castro’s reassignment, a petition on Change.org was launched by supporters calling for her reinstatement. The petition quickly garnered more than 862 signatures and included heartfelt statements of support from parents, co-workers, and friends who did not believe the punishment was warranted.
- Ryan Yousefi has lived in Coral Springs for over 30 years. He has worked as a writer for multiples outlets over the years, including the Miami New Times where he has covered sports and culture since 2013. He holds a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Business Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.
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