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Greeley Principal Invites Students, Alumni To Sex-Abuse Forum

Horace Greeley High School
Horace Greeley High School Photo Credit: File Photo

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- In the wake of sex-abuse revelations surrounding former Horace Greeley High School drama teacher Christopher Schraufnagel, school Principal Robert Rhodes is inviting current and former students to attend a talk on how to deal with such instances.

In an email addressed to current students, plus alumni from the classes of 2015 and 2016, Rhodes outlines a forum that will be held on Sunday, Jan. 8.

The session, according to Rhodes, will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Chappaqua. It will be guided by Dr. Daniel Gensler, who is a clinical psychologist. The event is closed to the press, and no recording or photography will be permitted.

A followup gathering will then be held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Rhodes added, in which Gensler will be one on one with current and former students.

The forum, according to the announcement, is being co-sponsored by the Chappaqua PTA and the Coalition for Youth's Subcommittee for Community Healing. The coalition is an umbrella organization for local stakeholders, and includes involved from both the Chappaqua Central School District and the Town of New Castle.

In November Schraufnagel pleaded guilty to charges pertaining to sexual abuse of Greeley students. He is scheduled for sentencing at a later date. The school district, meanwhile, is facing multiple lawsuits from student sex-abuse accusers.

Previous coverage of Schraufnagel and the related fallout can be read here.

Below is a copy of Rhodes' email, with italics added for visual differentiation:

Dear Members of the Greeley Classes of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018,

Many of you are aware of the events that have transpired at Greeley and the larger community around the high school theatre program. There is an upcoming meeting this Sunday, January 8th, in the afternoon that has been organized as an opportunity for current students and alumnae. There is a public session open to the entire community facilitated / guided by psychologist, Dr. Daniel Gensler, and then a session afterwards dedicated just for students.

Please see below for more details about the event and facilitator. Feel free to contact me or your counselor with any questions.

Sincerely,

Robert Rhodes

Principal

January 8th Meeting Information

The Coalition for Youth Subcommittee for Community Healing was formed in September to identify ways to help the Chappaqua Community heal from the abuse that occurred at Horace Greeley High School and equip the community with knowledge about sexual and other kinds of abuse. The group has planned a number of upcoming opportunities for our community: A Time to Heal: A Series of Sessions for the Chappaqua Community to Talk and to Learn Skills for Identifying and Dealing with Sexual Abuse.

One way a community may move forward following a trauma is by a shared review of memories, stories, and feelings, followed up by the development of action plans that give hope. On Sunday afternoon, January 8, 2017, from 3-5 PM, there will be a guided session, during which members of the Chappaqua Community will be provided an opportunity to discuss what happened at Horace Greeley High School and reflect on their individual thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

The session will be guided and facilitated by Dr. Daniel Gensler (see below) and may be simultaneously emotional and revelatory as we connect as a community around a shared and deeply painful experience. Former and current students are invited to attend, along with any community members and/or parents who would like to participate. Attention will be paid to the hope not to cause harm by opening up old wounds. People who do not wish to speak of their experience and want only to listen, are welcome. No press, recording or photography will be permitted in this session, which will be held at The First Congregational Church Centennial Hall, 210 Orchard Ridge Road, Chappaqua.

In addition, from 5-6 PM, Dr. Gensler will meet with any Greeley students and alumnae who wish to talk with him.

This session is co-sponsored by the Chappaqua PTA, through its R21K Committee, and the Coalition for Youth.

Daniel Gensler, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice doing psychotherapy, supervision, and psychoeducational evaluations in Manhattan and Great Neck, NY. He is also Director of Training of the Child Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Program at the William Alanson White Institute in Manhattan, training and supervising analyst there, and longstanding member of White's Sexual Abuse Services. He is co-author of Relational Child Psychotherapy (2002), has numerous publication sin the professional literature, and has made many presentations to the general and professional community. Relevant for his presentation to our group, he spoke about community trauma and its effects at a school conference on risk signs for violence in high school in 1999; worked with dozens of surviving spouses and children after the attacks of September 11, 2001; spoke about sexual abuse in the priesthood at a professional conference in 2004; and spoke about sexual abuse within the Orthodox Jewish community with a group of rabbis and Jewish educators in 2011.

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