Everett High School students protest Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani’s failure to secure an extension to her contract Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Joe Resnek)

By Josh Resnek

A large and orderly crowd of Everett High School students left their classes early and marched down Broadway, ending up in front of Everett City Hall Thursday afternoon.

They held signs denouncing the mayor in support of School Superintendent Priya Tahiliani while at the same time chanting slogans.

“Keep Priya. Get rid of the mayor,” the EHS students shouted in unison.

The protest revealed the outrage and the disappointment of largely Black, Brown and Hispanic students who supported Tahiliani in her bid to gain an extension to her contract.

Earlier in the week following a School Committee hearing, Tahiliani lost her bid for a contract extension by a 6-4 vote.

All six who voted against her, including the mayor, are white.

Tahiliani is the first superintendent of color in EPS history.

Crowd estimates ranged from 100-200 students, rivalling the protest which took place following revelations almost two years ago that racist memes were used by former City Councilor Anthony DiPierro, who resigned as a result of the racist furor it caused.

Students believed that Tahiliani was not treated fairly by the white members of the School Committee who voted against her last week. (Photo by Joe Resnek)

Also resigning at that time was the mayor’s former communications chief, Deanna Deveney, who traded racist banter with DiPierro.

The students protested in front of city hall for about 45 minutes before dispersing.

Since 2019, the city has experienced a number of racially charged incidents, primary among them, the effort of several of her white colleagues on the city council to force former Councilor at Large Gerly Adrien to resign.

Adrien didn’t resign. She was defeated in the 2020 mayoral primary.

Mayor DeMaria won that race against finalist Fred Capone by 210 votes.

Last year Tahiliani filed a complaint against the mayor detailing racism, sexism, discrimination and retaliation with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).

She later withdrew that complaint and is apparently planning to file a law suit in Superior Court against the mayor and the school committee making the same claims she made earlier to the MCAD.

A second high ranking member of Tahiliani’s administrative staff recently filed an MCAD complaint against the city.

That complaint is still pending.

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