School principal who survived crash involving drunk driver campaigns for Miami-Dade school board

ABC News 10 | By Hatzel Vela |  September 18, 2023

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Javi Perez survived after a drunk driver struck him while coaching his son’s Little League baseball team in 2016. He wants to put his resilience to service with the Miami-Dade school board.

The former South Dade High School principal was hospitalized for about five months after the tragedy. He lost both of his legs and underwent 26 surgeries.

“Is it terrible? Absolutely. But my kids are going to have a father,” Perez said. “You know, I’m not dead.”

Perez, who was born in Cuba, moved to the United States when he was 7 years old. His mother worked at a school cafeteria and his father was a mechanic.

He has three decades of experience with the school system.

“I have been a security monitor, a teacher, a coach, assistant principal, a principal,” said Perez, whose

Perez said he is concerned about how politicized the school board has gotten amid culture wars, and he has a message for teachers.

“As long as you’re doing what’s best for the kids, you’re okay,” Perez said adding he understands the predicaments teachers face. “I came from the classroom, I came from a school, and helping kids and helping parents in those communities.”

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