Director Of UWS Preschool Where Lawsuit Alleged Child Abuse Occurred Is Resigning

Cathy Makropoulos, the director of Montclare’s Children School on Amsterdam Ave., will be resigning from her post. The school has not yet named a replacement. She was named in a complaint filed by parents who alleged phyical and emotional abuse of a toddler during her tenure.

| 05 Jun 2023 | 11:08

Cathy Makropoulous, the director of the UWS preschool Montclare Children’s School on Amsterdam Ave., is resigning from her post on June 9th, sources tell the West Side Spirit. The school has yet to name the replacement for the position.

Makropoulous was named in a complaint filed last month in the Supreme Court of New York by parents Caitlin and Michael Hagerman, who alleged that their toddler (listed as only C.H.) faced multiple instances of physical and emotional abuse from his teachers at Montclare Children’s School–which the suit claims led the parents of the traumatized child to withdraw the youngster from the school.

This alleged abuse, according to the suit, centered around punishing the child for disabilities identified by the school itself–including time-outs essentially banned by school policy, physical violence against the child, and even cruel nicknames. The plaintiffs are at least seeking compensatory and punitive damages for the school’s actions, including the additional assertion that they were coerced out of tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and out-of-pocket costs by the school.

Caitlin and Michael Hagerman outlined some of the trauma they say C.H. is still facing to the West Side Spirit, saying that: “Our son has gradually recovered some of his natural zest for life, but he continues to show marked signs of the anxiety that began this past fall. He continues to suddenly recoil from being touched or lifted, which is upsetting for us since he has always been a very affectionate child, giving and asking for hugs all day. He often spontaneously talks with great agitation about his time in Montclare’s threes program.”

As for their goals regarding the complaint, the parents said that “from the beginning our most important goal has been for Montclare to take what we’re saying seriously: to perform an investigation, tell us the truth, and take steps to ensure that what we believe happened to our son does not happen to children still in their care,” adding that “financial restitution alone will not be enough.”

While noting the many positive experiences they had at Montclare with various children, family, and teachers not listed in the complaint, the Hagermans emphasized that “given the pattern of incidents alleged in our complaint, we feel something is broken. We urge Montclare to stand by the principles outlined in their advertising materials and parent handbook, which the complaint alleges they have significantly violated.”

In a statement provided to the West Side Spirit regarding Makropoulos’s resignation, a spokesperson for Montclare said: “Several months ago, Montclare Children’s School Director made the decision to step away from the Director’s role at the end of this school year to pursue other personal goals. During her seven exceptional years at Montclare, Cathy has been an invaluable asset to the team, and we are excited for Cathy’s future. We look forward to welcoming our new school Director in just a few weeks.” They did not comment on whether the resignation was related to the allegations outlined in the complaint filed by Hagermans.

Parents of students were notified via email on June 1st that Makropoulos was leaving at the end of the following week.