Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott met with more than 500 angry parents on Monday to answer questions about a teacher's aide accused of assaulting an eight-year-old student.
Gregory Atkins, 56, was arrested Friday on charges of sexual abuse, attempted criminal sex act and endangering the welfare of a child, after accusations arose that Atkins has repeatedly sexually abused an eight-year-old student at a well-known Upper Westside Elementary School.
At the meeting, which took place at PS 87, parents demanded to know how Atkins, who had a previous history of inappopriate sexual conduct, came to be working at the school.
Investigators have found that Atkins, who has worked for the school system since 2001, had been the subject of an inquiry in 2006, after a mother from at a Manhattan middle school accused him of having an inappropriate relationship with the boy, where he worked at the time. The Office of the Special Commissioner of Investigation for schools found that Atkins should be subject to disciplinary action; he was removed from the school, but no charges were filed and no note was put in his record, so it is unlikely that PS87 knew of Atkins' previous history when they hired him.
After the meeting, Walcott admitted that changes needed to be implemented in the system of hiring in order to prevent these situations from occuring.
I have to look at our policies, he told reporters. Moving forward, we will provide as much information as we can to our principals so they can make hiring decisions.