Supt. Tahiliani’s Discrimination Complaint Charges Racism, Sexism

Priya Tahiliani. (Photo By Jim Mahoney)

Claims overt, blatant acts of discrimination and retaliation by mayor and “his cronies.”

By Josh Resnek

School Superintendent Priya Tahiliani is the first minority superintendent in the city’s history.

Her recent discrimination complaint made with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, as well as the allegations she has lodged against the mayor and the city, highlight the racism and sexism she claims she has been facing since coming to Everett.

In the complaint she describes her early months as a honeymoon that went bad.

“The institutional racism championed by Everett’s Mayor, Carlo DeMaria, and his cronies on the now re-formed School Committee is palpable,” Tahiliani claims.

“Mayor DeMaria pushed himself onto the School Committee, and with the assistance of his proxies on the committee has taken all the steps he can to deprive Tahiliani of her ability to meaningfully execute her duties and responsibilities. Her offense? Being a woman of color who refused to maintain a 100% White district level management staff and who stood against the School Committee’s flagrant refusal to comply with a Title IX investigation into its own members’ conduct,” it is alleged in her filing.

That was January, 2022.

Since that time, the world has changed for the mayor.

Revelations of his acceptance and acquiesence to racism and sexism during the past two months has led to the resignation of Councilor Anthony DiPierro and the mayor’s chief of communications, Deanna Deveney.

The mayor not attending the high school graduation after being disinvited by the students is another indication of how the public school/city hall playing field has been dramatically altered.

Tahiliani claims the mayor’s behavior is discriminatory to her and to other women and that he has a history of being discriminatory towards other women in the community, particularly former City Councilor Gerly Adrien.

“The mayor’s review of my performance was rife with de- meaning and stereotypical language reflecting gender bias,” the complaint alleges.

To illustrate this, Tahiliani alleges that the mayor complained about her “posture, facial expressions and other physical mannerisms visibly change during discussions … and that her tone, tenor and demeanor during discussions also changes.”

Such thinking by the mayor, she said, reveals sexist expectations and she alleges these were not isolated instances.

“In City Council meetings, Mayor DeMaria made comments on Councilor Adrien’s facial expressions, stating that he would like to turn off her video/and or mute her,” Tahiliani claimed.

Mayor DeMaria also accused her of screaming of pointing her finger, yet a review of the video of that meeting proved his accusations were false,” Tahiliani alleges.

She claims the mayor made racist statements to the students. At one point, the mayor followed Tahiliani into the parking lot and berated her. She claims he told her she knew that her assertions about facing minority racial challenges in Everett were untrue.

She alleges that the mayor has interfered with critical school services.

“Such racist, sexist rhetoric, hostile and disparate treatment toward me was not only exhibited by Mayor DeMaria but also by School Committee member Michael McLaughlin.” She claimed McLaughlin did not allow her to speak, that he badgered her at times and that he was abusive and demeaning toward her.

All aspects of the complaint give credence to her belief that the mayor and the School Committee are “trying to get rid of me.”

She believes the mayor wants to get rid of her so he can appoint a white male to the superintendent’s position.

The MCAD is currently examining her claims and is expected to rule on whether or not it will be carrying out an investigation into Tahiliani’s claims.

Whether it chooses to move forward or not, Tahiliani is ready to file a lawsuit against the city should the MCAD fail to act.

Once again, sexism and racism are haunting the mayor.

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