Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Principal at Atlantic City High School charged with failing to report allegation of child abuse

Constance Days-Chapman was charged with official misconduct, obstruction of justice, and related offenses.

A judge's gavel
A judge's gavelRead moreFile photo / MCT

The principal of Atlantic City High School has been charged with failing to make a report to a state child welfare agency about an allegation of child abuse and instead meeting with the accused parents to tell them what their child had said, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office said Thursday.

Constance Days-Chapman was charged with official misconduct, obstruction of justice, and related offenses. The charges were placed on a summons, the prosecutor’s office said.

The announcement of the charges came the same day as detectives reportedly executed a search warrant at the home of Marty Small Jr., the mayor of Atlantic City, and his wife La’Quetta S. Small, the superintendent of Atlantic City Public Schools.

A lawyer for the mayor, Ed Jacobs, could not be reached for comment. Jacobs confirmed to that a search warrant was executed at the mayor’s home but did not disclose any details about what the search was about.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment about the search.

On Jan. 22, a student at the high school reported to a staff member that they were the victim of physical and emotional abuse by their parents, and that the student had already disclosed the alleged abuse to Days-Chapman, prosecutors said.

That same day, the staff member discussed the matter with Days-Chapman, who allegedly denied that the student had told her anything, but Days-Chapman said she would alert the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency, prosecutors said.

The staffer and another eyewitness to the conversation believed Days-Chapman was going to notify the state agency, prosecutors said. Another eyewitness offered to contact the state agency, but Days-Chapman allegedly insisted that she would do it.

“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 that the juvenile was being abused by them,” the prosecutor’s office said.

The state child welfare agency told investigators that no disclosure about abuse was made by Days-Chapman or any other staff members from Atlantic City High School, prosecutors said.

Days-Chapman could not be reached for comment. Board members of the Atlantic City school district could not be reached for comment.

Days-Chapman is active with the Atlantic County Democratic Party and was municipal chair but has been asked to take a leave of absence from that position.

Atlantic County Democratic Chairman Michael Suleiman said in a statement: “The charges against Ms. Chapman-Days are serious and disconcerting. 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.”