Boston school administrators are investigating claims that employees at the James F. Condon K-8 School in South Boston faced sexual harassment in the workplace.
The district’s Office of Equity has interviewed people who made the allegations and witnesses of the alleged harassment, and a report will be issued with the office’s findings, according to a spokesman for Boston Public Schools.
News of the investigation into harassment claims at the Condon School was first reported by the Boston Herald.
Neal O’Brien, the representative for Service Employees International Union Local 888, claimed in a June 16 e-mail sent to then-acting School Committee chairman Michael D. O’Neill and Superintendent Brenda Cassellius that a school employee at Condon allegedly had “repeated discussions of his genitalia in the workplace.”
O’Brien also wrote in the same e-mail, obtained by the Globe, that a schoolteacher allegedly attempted to attack and intimidate a Condon employee with a car.
O’Brien said the school’s principal failed to properly investigate the complaints in a timely fashion.
“There has been a ridiculous level of neglect in investigating sexual harassment and attempted harmful vehicular attacks on staff at the Condon school,” O’Brien wrote, alleging that principal Robert Chisholm “willfully and maliciously neglected to act.”
“Your silence is deafening and your lack of immediate action in these matters is a disgrace,” O’Brien wrote in the e-mail.
He demanded that Chisholm and the other school employee be put on leave during the investigation and ultimately terminated.
Neither has been placed on leave, according to a BPS spokesman.
John F. Tocci, an attorney for Chisholm, said his client followed BPS policy by immediately escalating the complaint of sexual harassment to the district’s Office of Equity. In a letter to Cassellius on Wednesday, Tocci wrote that O’Brien has used “insincere, threatening, and malicious tactics” against Chisholm, including handing out leaflets to students and parents at the Condon school and leafleting Chisholm’s neighborhood.
“Our goal, at this time, is to avoid any further irrational, inappropriate and perhaps illegal attacks by the union,” Tocci wrote.
O’Brien declined to comment further for this story.
In an e-mail to O’Brien obtained by the Globe, sent on June 17, the district’s chief human capital officer, Albert Taylor Jr., said it is “factually inaccurate” for the union to say the district did not act quickly on the harassment allegations.
The district’s superintendent, chief of human capital, and deputy chief of human capital received an e-mail about the allegations on the afternoon of June 14, Taylor wrote, and the Office of Equity contacted the people who made the reports the next day.
“Within 24 hours of receiving your email, BPS contacted you, obtained the necessary information to open an investigation, and scheduled interviews with the three individuals who submitted allegations of misconduct. Accordingly, your public allegations of ‘silence and lack of immediate action’ in response to your June 14th report are factually inaccurate, and constitute an unwarranted attack on the district,” Taylor wrote in his e-mail.
“We find it deeply disturbing that you would share these allegations so publicly before an investigation is complete,” Taylor continued. “Confidentiality is a key tenet of the district’s equity policies, and is in the best interests of all parties to ensure an accurate outcome and protections from retaliation.”