Photo: York Prep
The principal of an Upper West Side prep school was just fired because he allegedly had an “inappropriate relationship” with a former student, according to the New York Post.It all started when Christopher Durnford, the principal of York Prep Academy, coached the girls’ volleyball team.
Students told the NY Post that there was speculation for months that Durnford had “crossed the line” with one of the girls on the team.
“People knew about it last school year,” said one student. “She used to go to his office last year a lot — more than she should.”
While many students said Durnford had been a good principal, several said they also noted behaviour they considered inappropriate, such as his patting the butts of girls on the team.
Even more scandalous is that Durnford is married to the daughter of the school’s founder, Ronald Stewart.
Students and their parents found out Durnford had been fired last week after Stewart sent a welcome-back letter saying his son-in-law was out and he’d been replaced by the Middle School Dean.
Apparently nothing improper happened between Durnford and the student before she turned 18 and graduated last year, though the pair were described as “unusually close while she was still enrolled.”
School alumni are debating about whether the rumours are true – some say he was an excellent leader and the rumours are false; other’s say the story is “100% true.”
This isn’t the first time Durnford’s gotten himself into trouble either – he once apparently lied about being captain of a Canadian cycling team and that he’d competed in the the Barcelona Olympics.
Then someone called the NYP about it, and they called the Canadian cycling team, which said he’d never been a member. In response, Durnford said: “I do talk about trying to make the Olympic team. I took a couple years off college to try to get there, but I never made it to competing for Canada.”
Of course parents were furious that he’d supposedly made up the stories.
He was also mentioned in a WSJ article about beekeeping, because he was in charge of the school’s beekeeping project. Durnford posted it on his blog. The author of the WSJ piece noted that there were no girls in the bee club:
I wondered where all the girl students were, since York’s co-ed. “Excellent question,” Mr. Durnford said. “It’s clearly a male-dominated club for us at the moment. A lot of the garden was built by girls. I think they all thought we were a little crazy when we said we were going to bring 500,000 bees to the roof.”
The post was followed with one about a win the Volleyball team had last September. The student reportedly involved with Durnford graduated last June.