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Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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Former Superintendent Dr. Omar Easy files lawsuit against Wayland

Credit: Courtesy of Jeanne Downs
On Wednesday, March 13, former Wayland Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Omar Easy filed a lawsuit against the town of Wayland, former School Committee Chair Chris Ryan and School Committee member Ellen Grieco.

Former Wayland Public Schools (WPS) Superintendent Dr. Omar Easy filed a lawsuit against the town of Wayland, and one current and one former School Committee member seeking damages for alleged racism in the workplace.

The lawsuit, which specifically named former School Committee Chair Chris Ryan and current School Committee member Ellen Grieco, was filed on Wednesday, March 13 in the Middlesex Superior Court and included a request for a jury trial. Easy’s lawsuit is separate from his Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) complaint, which he filed in February of 2023 after being put on paid administrative leave by the Wayland School Committee.

Easy is seeking $5 million in damages, which includes punitive damages, emotional damages, lawyer costs, tax costs and further relief as the court deems necessary.

According to the suit, since Easy was put on leave in February of 2023, he has been unable to obtain any other “comparable” superintendent positions. Most recently, Easy took on the position of Assistant Athletics Director at the Penn State Brand Academy. Since Easy was put on paid administrative leave by the Wayland School Committee, he will continue to be paid until his contract expires in June of 2024.

“As of early March 2024, Defendants have still not restored Easy to the superintendent position,” line 52 of the lawsuit reads. “As such, his career trajectory has been stymied and his professional reputation has been called into question and is in tatters.”

Easy alleges that Ryan and Grieco fostered a racially hostile work environment, undermined Easy’s authority with subordinates and questioned his motives. Easy also claimed that Grieco discriminated against him and two other Black candidates during the superintendent hiring process.

“In numerous ways, large and small, the defendants – and in particular the School Committee and Chair Ryan and Vice Chair Grieco – fanned the flames of Easy’s racially hostile workplace, which was replete with racist remarks, explicit racist graffiti, racial stereotyping, undermining of authority, abusive and disparate treatment and unjustified and highly subjective attacks,” line 19 of the lawsuit reads.

In the suit, Easy states that he was Wayland’s first black superintendent, and was at the time one of “only three Black members of the District’s administrative council – a group of approximately 20 senior District administrators.”

The complaint also references a variety of racist incidents that occurred in Wayland throughout his time as superintendent.

The cited incidents include a Wayland girl’s varsity basketball game against Westford Academy, during which a black Wayland player was called the n-word. The complaint also references racist graffiti found in Wayland Middle School bathrooms in December of 2021, with vandalism including phrases such as “all black people need to leave the district now,” and racist graffiti that was painted near Wayland High School, which Easy claims “publicly humiliated” him.

The complaint alleges these incidents led Easy to feel that he was subject to a “racially hostile work environment,” which Easy claims he then worked to address. However, during a meeting with building principals, assistant principals and central office administrators, staff members alleged that Easy was using “fear” and “intimidation” against them. These complaints led to the School Committee beginning an investigation into Easy’s conduct.

According to the lawsuit, during the investigation, which occurred around Jan. 18, 2023, the outside-attorney investigator found no evidence of misconduct. The lawsuit claims that the School Committee still has not made the findings of this investigation public.

“Rather than clear his name, the School Committee kept these findings secret so the public cloud of impropriety over Dr. Easy persisted,” line 45 of the lawsuit reads.

The Wayland School Committee declined to comment on the matter.

“While the Committee sincerely appreciates the opportunity to discuss this matter with WSPN, unfortunately, due to the ongoing nature of this matter, we are unable to make any comment at this time,” Wayland School Committee Chair Erin Gibbons wrote in an emailed statement to WSPN.

Acting Superintendent David Fleishman told WSPN in an emailed statement that he is not able to comment on personnel matters.

This is a developing story that will be subject to updates.

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About the Contributors
Nadya Chase
Nadya Chase, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Nadya Chase, Class of 2024, is a third year reporter and a co-editor-in-chief for WSPN. Inside of school, she is the secretary of National Honor Society. Outside of school, she enjoys karate, reading, walking her dogs and spending time with family and friends. Contact: [email protected]
Selena Liu
Selena Liu, News Editor
Selena Liu, Class of 2024, is a third year reporter and the news editor for WSPN. She is a two-time captain of the cross country team, as well as a captain of both the indoor track and the tennis teams at WHS. She is also her class's vice president. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling, spending time with her friends and writing for her column Breaking Down Breaking News. Contact: [email protected]
Katya Luzarraga
Katya Luzarraga, Staff Managing Editor
Katya Luzarraga, Class of 2024, is a third year reporter and staff managing editor for WSPN. She plays for the girls varsity tennis team and is a member of Student Advocacy Committee club. She is also a peer mentor at WHS and head of WSPN club. Outside of school, she loves to take walks with her dog, discover new books and spend time with friends. Contact: [email protected]
Talia Macchi
Talia Macchi, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Talia Macchi, Class of 2024, is a third year reporter and a Co-Editor-in-Chief for WSPN. She is a field hockey captain and a Window Dance Ensemble director at WHS. In her free time, Talia enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling and watching movies. Contact: [email protected]
Aimee Smith
Aimee Smith, Business Managing Editor
Aimee Smith, Class of 2024, is a third year reporter and the Business Managing Editor for WSPN. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking and spending time with friends. Contact: [email protected]
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