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In controversial decision, School Committee places Superintendent on paid leave

Decision comes on heels of announcement to open investigation into anonymous complaints
This+was+the+scene+in+the+EHS+library+last+Monday+before+a+tense+School+Committee+meeting+leading+to+a+7-3+vote+to+place+Superintendent+Priya+Tahiliani+on+non-disciplinary+paid+leave.++The+unoccupied+seat+here+would+later+be+used+by+Committee+Chair+Mike+Mangan+sat+in+while+leading+the+meeting.
Victoria
This was the scene in the EHS library last Monday before a tense School Committee meeting leading to a 7-3 vote to place Superintendent Priya Tahiliani on non-disciplinary paid leave. The unoccupied seat here would later be used by Committee Chair Mike Mangan sat in while leading the meeting.

EPS Superintendent Priya Tahiliani has been put on paid administrative leave. 

During a special October 30 meeting, the Everett School Committee voted 7-3 on a motion for Tahiliani to be put on leave. Among the large crowd in attendance were students, teachers, community members and parents, all very concerned and apprehensive about the topics of discussion. The Committee’s topics were hiring a third party investigator to investigate 10+ hostile workplace complaints and deciding whether to put Tahiliani on paid leave.

Attorney Robert W. Galvin of Duxbury law firm Galvin & Galvin, the attorney for the School Committee, spoke about the complaints of a hostile workplace as well as hiring a third party investigator. Galvin stated that he had a lack of knowledge of the identity of the complainants as the names had been redacted, but that he could probably identify three out of the ten from context. Galvin proceeded to say that the complaints had been sent to him from the city’s Human Resources department, not from the school system’s HR. 

Tahiliani made a statement on her own behalf and on behalf of deputy superintendent Kim Tsai, who did not attend the meeting.  Tahiliani stated that the entire meeting was “highly questionable” and that neither she nor Tsai know what the complaints are about or the identities of the complainants. She also stated that she has been told that the HR report was “crafted by Everett City Hall” and that it “demonstrates the clear conflict of interest” within the Committee. Elaborating further, Tahiliani requested that when an investigation is to occur, that it be “fair and impartial” and dive deeper into the allegations that she has made “time and time again regarding the hostile work environment I have been subjected to over the past 3.5 years.” 

Ward 3 School Committee member Jeanne Cristiano was one of the members who voted against putting Tahiliani on leave. “I would definitely vote to hire an independent investigator with no ties to the city,” said Cristiano. “I also wish that we didn’t put her on trial without due process.”

During the meeting, several attendants voiced their disappointment and outrage about the motions. Several EHS students were also in attendance and held up signs in favor of keeping Tahiliani as superintendent.  Many Everett Public Schools teachers and parents also showed their support for Tahiliani, and later, their disdain for the outcome. 

“I don’t think public opinion would have made a difference,” said Robin M. Babcock, a candidate for the School Committee and an Everett High parent. “We came and spoke in favor of the superintendent numerous times and regardless of that, the same people voted against her.”

After the decision, School Committee chair Mike Mangan named deputy superintendent Kim Tsai as acting superintendent, leaving the meeting without discussing who would be the new superintendent, leaving many to wonder about the next direction of the Everett Public Schools.

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Victoria Macao, Reporter
Victoria Mação  (she/her) has high expectations for her long-awaited senior year and amazing plans for the brilliant future ahead of her. Mação  is an athlete (track runner/soccer player), a history lover, a straight “A” student with the longest list of possible colleges to attend that you will ever see, and is a complete dreamer girl. One good way to briefly describe Mação  is by mentioning her cool outfits, great hair, and absolute passion for aesthetic video making. With this being Mação's first year as a reporter for The Crimson Times, she is really looking forward to brainstorming and writing amazing stories for our school newspaper.

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