A Massachusetts school superintendent who's been the subject of racist graffiti filed a complaint against his town's school committee alleging the school committee fostered a hostile work environment and forced him out after he raised discrimination concerns.
Omar Easy, who is the first Black superintendent of Wayland, was the subject of racist graffiti this December. He said in a complaint filed Friday with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination that the school committee, especially its chair and vice chair, discriminated against him for his race and didn't work to fix a racially hostile environment.
"This unlawful conduct has included, without limitation, racial stereotyping, undermining, abusive and disparate treatment, unjustified and highly subjective attacks regarding my reputation and character, and the persistent failure to remedy a severe and pervasive racially hostile work environment," Easy said in a complaint.
Easy was placed on leave Wednesday without being told why, he said, weeks after he'd written to the committee about fixing the "racially hostile work environment."
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The school committee declined to comment on Easy's allegations in a statement released over the weekend, citing the legal matter's pending status, but added that it remains committed to inclusivity and anti-racism.
The statement said, "the School Committee wishes to reiterate that the Wayland Public Schools seeks to foster a welcoming, inclusive, anti-racist environment; our actions have and will continue to demonstrate a commitment to those principles. We are asking the members of our school community for their patience during this time."
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Easy declined to comment Monday through his attorneys.
State Sen. Jamie Eldridge said he would be looking into the complaint and Easy's suspension.
"While often there is no a lot of public information when public officials are suspended or fired, I want to better understand what happened here," he said in a Facebook post Monday.
After the racist graffiti equating Easy with a racial slur was put up at the Wayland Community Pool, next to Wayland High School, Wayland students posted signs of unity condemning the hateful graffiti and superintendents from more than 30 nearby school districts issued a statement showing support for their colleague.
"What we tell our children is we're not going to cover up what we used to do. Years ago, we might literally whitewash the graffiti and try to move on. We're not doing that anymore. We're going to call out racism," said Needham Superintendent Daniel Gutekanst at the time.
Easy, a former NFL fullback, oversees a predominantly white district. He told NBC10 Boston last year that the job's inherent challenges drew him to the position.
"Most of the time, I'm the only Black person in the room, but it doesn't bother me. I know why I'm here: To ensure every child in the district gets a fair shake," Easy said at the time.
Police in Wayland said they have been in contact with the Anti-Defamation League New England over the graffiti. Anyone with information was asked to call Wayland police at 508-358-4721.
A recent report from the FBI on hate crimes shows the third-highest numbers reported in a decade, even amid concerns that the data is incomplete.
NBC10 Boston's Malcolm Johnson and Thea DiGiammerino contributed to this report.
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