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After-School Program Axed After Staffer Charged With Raping a Student

By Emily Frost | May 1, 2015 10:42am | Updated on May 4, 2015 9:00am
 A student at P.S. 191 on West 61st Street was raped by an after school instructor, according to officials.
A student at P.S. 191 on West 61st Street was raped by an after school instructor, according to officials.
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DNAinfo/Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — The city yanked funding from a nonprofit that runs an after-school program at P.S. 191 after one of its employees was charged with raping one student, sexually assaulting another and inviting teens to his apartment to smoke pot.

P.S. 191's Roads to Success canceled its middle school program last week after staffer Jamal Baughan, 22, was arrested in East Harlem April 21 and charged with raping a 14-year-old student in the program, sexually assaulting another teen and endangering the welfare of children with whom he smoked pot on multiple occasions.

Baughan was indicted Thursday on the charges, according to a spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney. He was fired from his teaching position in the middle school program immediately, according to the DOE. 

Roads to Success had been allowed to continue running the elementary school portion of the program — but the DOE has decided to terminate that contract as well, effective May 11, Superintendent Ilene Altschul said.

The West Side YMCA has been selected to take over the after-school program, Altschul told parents and education leaders Wednesday. 

The Y did not respond to request for comment. 

Altschul said she is "very confident [the Y program] will meet the needs of the community."

But parents were not happy with the change and said they weren't consulted, according to PTA President Kajsa Reaves, who characterized the decision as "rash." 

The Parent Teacher Association at P.S. 191 said the move was made "over their heads" and disagreed with the decision to boot both the elementary and middle school portions of the program.  

Roads to Success offers separate programming for the elementary and middle school students at the pre-K to 8th grade school, she said. Baughan was only involved with the middle school section, she added.

"The parents want to keep the elementary school part of the after-school since they are separate from the middle school," Reaves said. 

She and other parents also want continuity. 

"[Parents] believe it makes sense to keep the [elementary program] until the end of the year at least. The school has a fantastic relationship with the counselors," she explained. 

In an earlier statement that Roads to Success shared with DNAinfo, a spokesman said they ran a background check on Baughan and have a "strict, unambiguous policy restricting staff from contacting students outside of program hours."

At P.S. 191, Roads to Success offered "arts, sports, music drama, creative writing, step and homework help" for elementary students, according to its website. 

For middle-schoolers, it offered "sports, performing arts, dance, science, technology, math and engineering, comic books and homework help."

In a statement Thursday, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit said it is "disappointed in the closing of the site," adding that it has operated for 17 years and "currently serves nearly 2,000 students in 13 programs across four boroughs."

"We have enjoyed overwhelming support from parents and children in all of our programs," the spokeswoman said.

Officials in the mayor's office, which sources said was involved with the decision to close the program, did not respond to a request for comment. 

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