An Atlantic City Board of Education meeting called to discuss the case of an accused child pornographer who worked in the school district devolved into allegations of politicizing Tuesday night.
Kayan Frazier, who now faces federal charges that he created images of child sexual abuse, was fired from working at Pennsylvania Avenue School in 2017, after an investigation into conduct that violated school policy.
Board President John Devlin said he called Tuesday’s meeting to find out what happened at that time, and why the board was never notified about the 2017 investigation, which happened two years before Frazier’s arrest.
Board member Al Herbert — who also works as an Atlantic City police officer — pointed out that law enforcement also was not notified, even though it is required under state policy.
But those who gathered at the meeting, which was also streamed via Zoom, seemed less concerned with Frazier’s case, and focused instead on defending Dr. LaQuetta Small, who was principal of Pennsylvania Avenue School when the accused worked there during the 2016-2017 school year.
Small, who is now principal at the High School, was one of three administrators noticed that they would be discussed at the meeting. That raised allegations from some who spoke that it was politics involving Dr. Small and her mayor husband that was the true purpose of the meeting.
While the meeting resulted in no real action, it did give some insight into the case, including that it was Small who first questioned the conduct of Frazier, who is her cousin.
A 95-page packet created by the board’s attorney ahead of the special meeting included an incident report Small made to Source4Teachers — now called Educational Staffing Services — which provides substitute personnel to Atlantic City’s schools.
In the Feb. 24, 2017 incident report, Small writes that Frazier had a Pennsylvania Avenue School third-grader spend the night at his home that Feb. 12, and then came to the school the next day to pick the child up and take him back to Frazier’s home.
“I advised Mr. Frazier that those two actions are inappropriate and he should not allow the child to remain in his home,” Small wrote.
It does not appear a report was made at that time.
But on Feb. 23, 2017, Small learned that Frazier continued having the child stay at his home, and filed the incident report the next day.
“The mother is okay with his actions, however, she has not provided documentation to the school to authorize transportation,” Small wrote.
She recommended that he be removed from the school.
In a follow-up email March 15, 2017, Small tells a Source4Teachers district manager that “it was brought to my attention on 3/15 that the student continues to sleep over and the 3rd grade student sleeps in his (Frazier’s) bed.”
“After speaking with the student’s sister, she mentioned that he was there last night,” Small wrote. “The mother is okay with the student sleeping at the substitute’s house, but I am not aware if she knows that they share the same bed.”
The next day, Small sent an email involving an incident with another student.
“On March 13th, a parent complained that her son, who is a 5th grade student, was up late texting Mr. Frazier,” Small wrote on March 16, 2017.
Small said she spoke about it with Frazier on March 14, and that he said he had texted the student’s mother’s phone.
But the student told Small it was his personal phone.
“The only text available mentioned the word Skyzone,” Small wrote. “Mr. Frazier was planning to take the student to Skyzone, which is a children’s play facility.”
The rest of the packet includes three stories BreakingAC previously wrote on the case, along with the full federal complaint against Frazier (see below).
His employment dates were also provided.
The board’s attorney also said at the meeting that Small did not have to disclose her relationship to Frazier under the nepotism policy, which does not cover cousins.
Frazier also is registered to vote at Small’s home, even though the federal complaint has him living in Somers Point and, previously, at an apartment in Atlantic City.
Devlin ended the meeting by making a motion to have independent counsel investigate the case. The motion failed with a 4-4 tie.
Devlin, Herbert, Al Thomas and Farook Hossain voting in favor and Ruth Byard, Shay Steele, Pat Bailey and Kim Bassford voted against.
Kazi Islam left the Zoom meeting early. He could not be immediately reached to determine why or how he may have voted.
Devlin said an investigation will continue using current counsel.
It was not clear whether any of the children involved or if any other children at the school ever were questioned or counseled following Frazier’s arrest.