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City sued for discrimination

Former acting EPS superintendent Gauthier claims age, race bias conspiracy prevented her from interviewing

By JOSH RESNEK

Former acting superintendent Janice Gauthier has filed suit in Middlesex Superior Court against the city and the school committee alleging she was overlooked deliberately and eliminated from the competition to ascend to the superintendent’s position because of her age, and because she is a Caucasian.

In the lawsuit, she alleges a conspiracy based on her age and her color – she was 70 when she resigned in disgust in 2019 after not being allowed to interview for the job now held by Superintendent Priya Tahiliani, and for not being allowed to resume employment in her former position, Director of Curriculum.

Gauthier is white.

The new superintendent is a woman of color. She is asking for judgments on a number of items in the lawsuit.

However, no one in a position of responsibility knows how much she is asking for, which is the chief question being asked around the city among those who are discussing the matter.

No one in a position of responsibility in Everett was willing to speak on the record about the lawsuit or its iterations.

Several who spoke to the Leader Herald on the condition of anonymity said that the mayor very likely put Gauthier up to the lawsuit and that the mayor released news of it privately, before Gauthier’s attorney had the chance to make it public.

No one in the mayor’s office would comment on the matter.

The sources said the lawsuit “is what the mayor wants” to discredit the School Committee now that he is a voting member and planning to run a slate of candidates loyal to him to get rid of Tahiliani.

In the lawsuit filed two weeks ago, she claims she was discriminated against by the School Committee because of her longtime relationship with the former superintendent of schools with whom she served in a junior capacity at the school department for longer than 40 years.

When he resigned, she took over in 2019. She served for 15 months as acting superintendent.

She claims the former superintendent maligned her character and that the School Committee followed his lead by barring her from resuming her position as Director of Curriculum Development.

The former superintendent has been awaiting trial on sexual harassment charges for almost two years.

The suit is perceived as an effort to discredit the School Committee’s selection process.

Gauthier’s claim of reverse discrimination, that she is white, and somehow the selection process was geared to hire a Black or brown, is considered specious by several lawyers and members of the school committee all of whom chose to speak off the record.

“This is a surprising and difficult case to win,” a local attorney told the Leader Her- ald.

“That Mrs. Gauthier was discriminated against for her age after serving 40 years is one thing. To claim she was denied the position because of her color is something else entirely,” the attorney said.

The lawsuit was first reported in the Everett Independent last week.

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