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Greeley Principal Seeks Meeting With Students Amid Schraufnagel Probe

Horace Greeley High School Principal Robert Rhodes.
Horace Greeley High School Principal Robert Rhodes. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- Horace Greeley High School Principal Robert Rhodes is seeking to meet with theater students to discuss how they should handle scrutiny surrounding former drama teacher Christopher Schraufnagel, who is reportedly under police investigation pertaining to conduct.

In an email blast, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Voice, Rhodes wrote that that parents posted "untrue things on social media" and that reporters have been contacting people. The principal suggested to students that they could meet with him this week; the meeting is optional, he added.

Rhodes expressed concern that people will "overstep" boundaries in what he called "their rush to discover or share information."

Schraufnagel, who went on a sudden leave of absence in June just days before the school's graduation, resigned earlier this month. He has been replaced by Jonathan Gellert.

Rhodes tried to anticipate what students could face.

"It is easy for me to imagine a situation in which the police make an arrest and many adults, and perhaps even students, respond in inappropriate ways," Rhodes wrote. "This could include social media inquiries, questions from friends and acquaintances, the unauthorized use of your name in the press, and untrue stories posted on-line."

Rhodes also expressed concern about the impact that possible direct inquiries could have on the students.

"My biggest concern is that this may be directed at you in an effort to get an insight, quote, or a story," he wrote. "You can, of course, speak with anyone. My worry is that there will be a flurry of people, each person intent on asking for themselves. For you the impact will amount to dozens of asks and exert a strong pull backwards. This can feel exhausting, even harassing, and my sense is that many, if not all of you, have committed yourselves to moving forward."

The latest media scrutiny this week came in a story from The Journal News, which reported that Marathon Strategies, a public relations firm based in Manhattan, pitched the school district in June on how to respond to news about Schraufnagel. The story is available here.

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