William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City, already under pressure after supposedly letting students cheat in online summer classes, has again come under fire with allegations that an assistant principal slept with a student. The NY Post writes that not only did 33-year-old Pelagia Papoutsis engage in a romantic relationship with one of her female former students, but Principal Namita Dwarka "hid" the affair.
"In hindsight, it was super obviously twisted and wrong," the student allegedly wrote in a Facebook message to a gym teacher at the school. The gym teacher, Peter Maliarakis, says the relationship continued for a period after the young woman graduated.
The student was 17 years old when the affair began, and she says that Principal Dwarka was aware of what was going on and "did nothing." Another teacher at the school told colleagues that Papoutsis had "openly expressed a desire to pursue the student romantically, once calling her 'the girl of my dreams,'" reports the Post.
Authorities are currently investigating the claims, and Papoutsis was removed from the Long Island City school just before classes were due to start this semester.
Gym teacher Maliarakis has said in the past he's been "crucified for protecting kids."
He's previously been stripped of his duties after making inflammatory remarks at a high school wrestling match, and was hit with 12 charges of incompetence and insubordination by the Department of Education. One charge was reportedly because he refused to take his class to a fitness room he said was "filthy" and "caused such a stench students put shirts over their noses."
Maliarakis maintains that he was being retaliated against by the principal for speaking out against unsanitary conditions and testifying to investigators regarding grade changes.