Two days after being placed on administrative leave last week, Wayland Public Schools Superintendent Omar Easy filed a complaint Friday against the Town of Wayland, the school district, and the School Committee, alleging he had suffered unlawful discrimination and retaliation during his two years as the district’s first Black leader.
Easy filed the complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. In the complaint, which was obtained by Patch and posted online Feb. 12, Easy said he was dismissed from his job without explanation on Feb. 8, less than three weeks after he raised concerns about a “racially hostile environment.”
He singled out the School Committee’s chair and vice chair, Chris Ryan and Ellen Grieco, for fostering discriminatory working conditions.
“Despite my objective accomplishments as superintendent, members of the School Committee — chiefly Chair Ryan and Vice Chair Grieco — have subjected me to unlawful discrimination based upon my race,” the complaint said. “This unlawful conduct has included, without limitation, racial stereotyping, undermining, abusive and disparate treatment, unjustified and highly subjective attacks regarding my reputation and character, and the persistent failure to remedy a severe and pervasive racially hostile work environment.”
The Wayland School Committee said in a statement over the weekend that its members were aware of Easy’s complaint, but declined to comment on specific allegations.
“However, the School Committee wishes to reiterate that the Wayland Public Schools seeks to foster a welcoming, inclusive, anti-racist environment; our actions have and will continue to demonstrate a commitment to those principles,” the statement said. “We are asking the members of our school community for their patience during this time.”
Easy did not return requests for comment Sunday.
A former professional football player and senior school administrator in his hometown of Everett, Easy was appointed superintendent of Wayland Public Schools, a predominantly white district, in late January 2021.
In the complaint, Easy describes several incidents that he alleged caused “severe and persistent harm” to his reputation and emotional health, including the discovery in December of racist graffiti targeting Easy at a public pool near Wayland High School.
The graffiti called Easy the n-word, according to a photo attached to Easy’s complaint. Easy said in the complaint the incident was “an unfortunately predictable result of the racially hostile work environment created by the School Committee’s actions and inactions.”
After the graffiti was found, Easy e-mailed the School Committee and asked its members to take “immediate steps” to remedy the hostile work environment, but “months later the School Committee has still not acted,” Easy alleged.
In another instance, around December 2021, Easy said he was “accused of ‘destroying Wayland’s culture’ and ‘bringing Everett culture to Wayland’ ” after he suggested installing cameras in a middle school, where racist, anti-Black graffiti had also been discovered.
Easy said he had received a “proficient” performance review from the School Committee in July and had succeeded in other measures, including securing $460,000 in grants and expanding COVID-19 pool testing in the 2021-2022 school year.
Still, according to Easy’s filing, the School Committee issued three public notices throughout his brief tenure that its members were considering disciplining Easy in response to complaints from other educators about his behavior.
Easy said no discipline was ever taken, but his reputation was damaged. In November, according to Easy’s complaint, the School Committee hired an attorney to “build out a pretext” for his termination. But the attorney found no evidence, Easy said, that he had engaged in misconduct.
This story has been updated to note that Omar Easy’s MCAD complaint was obtained by Patch and posted online Feb. 12.