Everett superintendent reportedly placed on leave by school committee despite student, teacher objections

Local News

Priya Tahiliani filed a lawsuit against Mayor Carlo DeMaria, the School Committee, and the city of Everett alleging numerous instances of racism, sexism, and retaliatory actions earlier this year.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe, File

The Everett School Committee voted Monday night to place Priya Tahiliani, the district’s superintendent, on leave pending a human resources investigation, despite objections from teachers and students, The Boston Globe reports.

According to the newspaper, the 7-3 vote occurred after committee members were presented  with complaints of a hostile work environment from 10 unnamed individuals but were not given details of the allegations or the names or positions of accusers.

“Any investigation into these claims will reveal that I’ve been doing my job in holding [Everett Public Schools] staff accountable to our students, families, residents, and taxpayers for bad behaviors that should not be tolerated,” Tahiliani said at the meeting, according to the Globe

The vote comes after months of turmoil in the city, with supporters saying that racism is behind the ousting of Tahiliani, who has served as superintendent since 2020 and is the first person of color to lead the district. In January, Tahiliani filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, claiming racial and gender discrimination, accusing the city’s mayor, Carlo DeMaria, of subjecting her to “blatant and overt acts of discrimination and retaliation” because she is an Indian-American woman who has hired administrative leaders who are not white.

About a 100 students walked out in protest when the committee decided not to renew her contract, and both Tahiliani and Deputy Superintendent Kim Tsai filed a lawsuit in March against Mayor Carlo DeMaria, the School Committee, and the city of Everett alleging numerous instances of racism, sexism, and retaliatory actions. 

According to the Globe, students attended Monday night’s meeting holding signs that read “Keep Our Superintendent” and “Stop Silencing Students,” and 50 teachers signed a letter backing Tahiliani.

Antonio Amaya, executive director of La Comunidad Inc., an Everett nonprofit that advocates for Latino residents, told the Globe that Tahiliani has expanded summer programs, gotten more technology into students’ hands, and provided parents who don’t speak English with interpreters at parent-teacher conferences. 

“The School Committee is not foreseeing the damage they are causing to the student population in Everett,” he told the newspaper.


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