Teacher charged with endangering student
Fort Lee resident Ilya Krakinovskiy was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a fourth degree crime, after an investigation lead by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit.
Krakinovskiy, a graduate from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s (FDU) Teaneck campus, was released on his own recognizance pending his first court appearance in Leonia Municipal Court.
In a letter to parents, Superintendent Bernard Josefsberg said, “Having served as the host site for Mr. Krakinovskiy’s pre-service teaching, we are dismayed and saddened by this report.”
The letter also stated that the alleged behavior occurred off campus during non-school hours.
Krakinovskiy, who worked at the high school from January through May, came to the school district upon the recommendation of FDU.
“The first question when you hear of something like this is did we do anything either by permission or omission, that assisted him in his conduct, and the answer is no. He was closely supervised,” explained Josefsberg.
Josefsberg said a background check would have taken place at FDU and that all student candidates are interviewed and their references are checked.
But when Josefsberg was asked if the school district performs their own background checks on student teachers, in addition to any a university might conduct, he said no.
“There’s an assumption that the university would not be making that request had they not scrutinized their candidate at some level, and that they will vouch for his character,” Josefsberg said. “That’s the assumption.”
Although the district performs background checks when they hire full- and part-time teachers, student teachers do not undergo the same review, despite the fact they work within an “arena” that allows them to interact with students.
“If we were required to investigate the criminal history of every student teacher, we would be more reluctant to do that work because we don’t have to,” Josefsberg said. “Why would the university expect us to do the work they should be doing. They’re [student teachers] in our care. That’s why they’re supervised.”
Josefsberg said he was told by officials from FDU that Krakinovskiy, who worked at the campus bookstore, had nothing in his background or behavior that would have predicted this outcome.
“Of course they were saying that because they were in a difficult situation,” Josefsberg explained. “But I believe them.”
Krakinovskiy, who is no longer a student teacher at LHS, is also ordered to have no contact with the student.