Everett Superintendent Retires Amid Sexual Harrassment Allegations

The Everett, Massachusetts superintendent of schools retired just a day after he was placed on paid administrative leave amid sexual harassment allegations, city officials announced on Thursday.

"This letter is to inform you I am retiring at the end of the day, Tuesday, December 18, 2018," Frederick Forestiere wrote to the chairman of the school committee on Monday. "It has been a wonderful fifty-two and one-half years."

The school committee voted to place Forestiere on leave after a closed-door discussion Monday. The school committee also voted to allocate $50,000 to an independent investigation into the allegations.

The committee discussed Forestiere's fate for 90 minutes behind closed doors before announcing their decision to those who had gathered at the high school.

The move came after complaints of sexual harassment from two different women.

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria had voiced his support for the committee's decision.

"I believe the school committee took the appropriate action tonight by voting to place the superintendent on administrative leave pending a thorough investigation of these allegations," Mayor DeMaria said in a statement.

The Everett Education Coalition released a statement Thursday night.

"We echo the sentiments of attorney Tara Swartz’ clients, two who filed complaints against Mr. Foresteire and the Everett Public Schools, that 'this is the first positive step to real change within the Everett Public School system,'" the release said. "We affirm their courage in coming forward and breaking their silence in a climate of fear and intense pressure." 

"In the coming weeks, we look forward to working with the school committee to define the scope of the independent investigation into Mr. Foresteire and the administration of the Everett Public Schools."

The public had been very vocal on the matter, including parents and teachers who showed up Monday night in protest, wondering why this kind of action didn't happen sooner.

The superintendent has been under investigation by the state's Commission Against Discrimination since earlier this month. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Those protesting Monday night called the committee's decision a victory but they are still wondering why it took so long.

"There’s still a long way to go in terms of accountability," Jessica Haralson said. "There's still a lot of things that the Everett public schools needs to do to truly ensure that it's accountable to all but with that said we do think this is a step in the right direction."

Janice Gauthier had taken over as interim superintendent while the investigation into the allegations against Forestiere took place.

"It's a tall order and there are big boots to fill," Gauthier said.

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