Everett school superintendent sues city for racial discrimination after contract not renewed
EVERETT - The soon-to-be former superintendent of Everett Public Schools is suing the city for racial discrimination.
Superintendent Priya Tahiliani and Deputy Superintendent Kim Tsai are also suing Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the school committee. It comes after Tahiliani's contract was not renewed following a school committee vote earlier this month.
That's when students staged a walkout protesting the decision including freshmen Aarohee Chapagain and Kaylee Rodriguez.
"I do think it's unfair, she's been doing a lot of good things for the city," said Rodriguez.
Aarohee Chapagain agreed, "The fact they took her off for a stupid reason, calling out the mayor and the city known for its racism, it's just stupid."
That was the feeling of all the students and parents leaving Everett High School on Tuesday after the complaint was filed in Boston Federal Court.
"For starters, good for them," said parent Mykel Dennis. He told WBZ he believes the two shouldn't face discrimination, being the first two people of color to their appointed district level jobs. "It shouldn't even matter to be honest," said Dennis.
The complaint by Tahiliani and Tsai alleges secret surveillance cameras were put in the ceiling of the superintendent's office. It also says that the mayor deprived the two from executing their responsibilities with, "discriminatory and retaliatory attacks." It claims the attacks partially came from the two refusing to maintain what they say is Everett's "whites only hiring policy."
Amine Hmunna is a junior. He said he 100% supports Priya Tahiliani and hopes she's reinstated as superintendent. "She's been putting in the work," he said. He believes having a superintendent of color sets a positive example for the student body.
"We have a first brown superintendent, we have someone actually diverse," said Chapagain.
According to the court filing, 83.5% of Everett's children are students of color.
"Mayor DeMaria and the City vigorously deny Ms. Tahiliani's and Ms. Tsai's allegations," DeMaria said in a statement. "The credible facts of the matter demonstrate that Ms. Tahiliani and Ms. Tsai were never subjected to discrimination of any kind by the City and the Mayor and there is simply no evidence to the contrary."
The school committee did not respond to an interview request. A school committee meeting will take place at the high school on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
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