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BREAKING

ACHS principal charged with official misconduct as mayor's home is raided

  • Breaking

Atlantic City High School's principal is accused of ignoring a student's pleas for help with abuse at home and warning the accused parents about the allegations.

Constance Days-Chapman is charged with official misconduct, along with hindering apprehension of another, obstruction of justice and failure to report child abuse.

The charges were placed on a summons Thursday.

The allegations come as warrants were served at the home of Mayor Marty Small and his wife, Superintendent LaQuetta Small.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office was on scene and the Smalls' street blocked off.

BreakingAC has confirmed the couple was the subject of an investigation by the Division of Child Protection and Permanency, formerly known as DYFS.

It has not been officially confirmed that the student is related to them.

The charges claim the student went to school staff Jan. 22, claiming emotional and physical abuse by their parents, and that the student previously discussed the matter with Days-Chapman.

The school staff member went to the principal, who allegedly denied that the student ever disclosed the abuse to her previously but told the school staffer that she would notify DCPP.

Both the staffer and another eyewitness to the conversation believed that Days-Chapman was going to notify the authorities as they were leaving her office, according to the allegations. 

The other eyewitness even offered to notify DCPP, but Days-Chapman insisted that she would make the notification, according to the Prosecutor's Office.

Later that evening, Days-Chapman met with the juvenile’s parents at the parents’ house and informed them that the juvenile disclosed to school staff of alleged abuse by them.

DCPP confirmed that there was no disclosure reported to them regarding the abuse of the juvenile from Days-Chapman or any other member of the staff from Atlantic City High School.

This incident was investigated by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Victims Unit and the Professional Standards and Accountability Unit. 

Officials have not confirmed that the parents are the mayor and superintendent.

Days-Chapman is an adjunct professor at Stockton University and the municipal chair of the Atlantic County Democrats.

In a written statement, Chairman Mike Suleiman said he asked Days-Chapman to take a leave of absence from that position.

"The charges against Ms. Days-Chapman are serious and disconcerting," he wrote. "While everyone is innocent until proven guilty, I've asked Ms. Days-Chapman to take a leave of absence from her position as the Municipal Chair in Atlantic City pending the outcome of these charges.

"I will work with our members in Atlantic City to identify an interim chairperson," he continued.

Days-Chapman is known to have a close relationship with the Smalls. 

She was handpicked by LaQuetta Small to take over as principal after Small became superintendent.

Days-Chapman ran for the Fourth Ward council seat on the mayor's ticket in 2019. "Mandy" — how Days-Chapman is known to friends — also headed up Marty Small's re-election campaign in 2021. 

The mayor could not be reached for comment.

This story is developing. Check back with BreakingAC.com for updates. 

author

Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Monday, April 15, 2024
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