With Appreciation

"On Friday, September 27, Tarrytown Police brought charges of misdemeanor abuse and endangering the welfare of a minor – a Hackley Upper School student — against Todd Witkin, a free-lance yoga instructor who worked two hours a week in Hackley’s Upper School.

There is an Order of Protection prohibiting Mr. Witkin from being on Hackley School grounds. Because of the respect due to the privacy of the student and her family, there are limits to what Hackley can appropriately report. Mr. Witkin worked on a free-lance, contract basis for two hours or fewer per week in Hackley’s Upper School in the 2005-06 academic year and in the opening month of this academic year. He came to Hackley with strong recommendations, worked without incident till this point, and has no known history of any prior incidents or allegations of this kind. Hackley has no doubt, however, as to the truth of the charges. On Wednesday, as soon as Hackley had partial knowledge of what might have taken place, the student’s family and the Police were notified, first through the Greenburgh Police Department, and then by transfer to the Tarrytown Police Department. Hackley has been tremendously impressed by the caring, professionalism, and expedition with which the Greenburgh and Tarrytown Police have worked, and we are very grateful to them. This incident is a shock to all at Hackley. It represents an appalling abuse of the fundamental trust important to all who work in education. We are doing all we can to support the student and her family.

"I have spoken with Chief Scott Brown to offer Hackley School’s thanks for the exceptional work of the Tarrytown Police in this matter, and want in particular to commend Detective Sergeant Eugene Buonanno for his outstanding work. There are situations that arise in schools that are clearly inappropriate for any school to address on its own; this was one. Because Hackley contacted the Police in a timely fashion, this situation was addressed effectively. Tarrytown is fortunate to have such an outstanding resource in such crucial situations."

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About the Author: Walter C. Johnson