CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – A petition demanding answers and accountability from Chappaqua school officials following an abuse case involving a former Horace Greeley High School drama teacher is being circulated on the Internet.
Christopher Schraufnagel, accused of sexually assaulting several drama students, has pleaded guilty to lesser charges, a deal, if approved, that could keep him out of jail and off the sex offender registry.
He will have to serve three years’ probation and give up his teaching license, however.
Schools Superintendent Lyn McKay sent out an email blast last week to the community stating that the district had no part in the deal agreed to by Schraufnagel and the county’s district attorney and tentatively accepted by New Castle Town Justice Douglas Kraus.
Kraus is expected to make a final decision later this month. A sentencing date has been set for Nov. 10
The petition being circulated on change.org by Cortney Miller is making six demands.
Petitioners want the district to:
- Acknowledge that the students were “victims of an adult sexual predator, and that these children are not, in fact, responsible for their own abuse.”
- Force any school personnel involved with the preliminary investigation of the case -- "that did not result in any further corrective action" -- to resign.
- Examine and amend its policies “to ensure the safety of future students.”
- Set up an “independent investigatory body” to handle such cases.
- Set up a system of counseling and/or therapy for any student who requests it.
- Partner with child abuse prevention agencies to implement better staff training and community education programs.
McKay said in her statement that the school district understands and shares the community’s concerns about the Schraufnagel case.
“Nothing is more important to this district than the health and well-being of our students,” she said.
Her statement appears in its entirety below.
"In the past year we have made available to students clinical staff and guidance counselors who are specifically trained to deal with questions and concerns that students may have from this event. We hosted nationally-recognized expert Dr. Liane Nelson, Director of the Treatment Center for Trauma and Abuse, Westchester Jewish Community Services, to answer questions from parents last year and we have several more sessions planned for the coming weeks.
"We review all of our staff policies and procedures around harassment, bullying, reporting of abuse, discrimination prevention and intervention annually. We have expanded our training of teachers, administrators, custodial and clerical staff on the reporting of abuse in a domestic and educational setting.
"As the result of ongoing safety review, including an independent audit of the district, we have made physical improvements to school environment which include installing additional outdoor cameras, improving visibility, improving interior and external lighting and changing access control in buildings.
"We will continue to update parents of new resources as and when available.”
To read the most recent Daily Voice story on the Schraufnagel case, click here .
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