After a rocky ending with former Supt. Janice Gauthier in the Everett Public Schools (EPS) in 2019 and 2020, the long-time former Everett educator has now filed a discrimination suit in Middlesex Superior Court claiming the City and the School Committee used her age against her in not considering her application to be the new superintendent in 2019.
After former Supt. Fred Foresteire abruptly resigned in 2019 following allegations of sexual misconduct – allegations that are still alive in a criminal case – Gauthier, now 70, took the reins as Interim Supt. and hoped to be considered for the full-time position during that year’s Search Committee process. However, in her suit, she claimed that despite putting in an application and serving for decades in the Everett Public Schools – including during the tumultuous interim process – she was not considered at all.
Her 28-point suit, filed on March 10 and put on a fast track in Civil Court, alleged she was lumped in with the allegations against Foresteire and was discriminated against due to her age during that Search Committee process.
“As a result of these infractions, and as a result of the concerted conspiratorial relationship which existed in the newly constituted School Committee for the City of Everett and the Executive Offices of the City of Everett School Committee, the Plaintiff’s Constitutional Rights have been violated, she has been the subject of Age Discrimination, has been deprived of Equal Protection under the United States Constitution and the Massachusetts Bill of Rights, and has sustained Damages, including Costs, Loss of Employment, Gainful Employment, Professional Advancement and has been compelled to deal with the false and malicious innuendos created by her predecessor which have been linked to her in a malicious fashion in order to exclude her from selection in the selection process of the determination of the successor Superintendent of Schools for the City of Everett,” read one of the points in her lawsuit.
The suit asked for judgements on four counts laid out in the suit, with interests and costs on the first three counts. It requests a potential jury trial in Civil Court for the Constitutional discrimination suit detailed in Count 5.
City Solicitor Colleen Mejia acknowledged the City has received the suit, but that they – as a practice – do not and cannot comment on personnel matters.
School Committee Chair Frank Parker, who was named in the suit along with several other members of the Committee, said it was best not to comment on pending litigation.
“I appreciate the call to comment on this, but I have a sworn duty and obligation to protect the City of Everett and the students of Everett Public Schools and in this case, the best comment is no comment,” he said.
Gauthier’s attorney, David Fulmer, did not return a call from the Independent in time to comment on the case or its merits.
Gauthier’s suit also claims reverse racial discrimination as well, and also indicates that she was told she could assume her old job as Curriculum Director. However, her suit relays that the position had been filled by someone with lesser academic and professional qualifications by the time a new superintendent was picked.
“The acts and practices engaged in by the City of Everett were confirmation of Age Discrimination and Reverse Discrimination, in that, by virtue of the fact that the Plaintiff is a Caucasian, she was not amongst those considered in the final process of evaluation and selection for the position of Superintendent of Schools, and as a result of the unpredictable and reversal of behavior of the conduct engaged in by the City of Everett and the City of Everett’s School Committee in its utter failure to consider her favorably for the position of Superintendent, following her having successfully discharged her duties in that position for a period of in excess of 15 months, prior to consideration and while eliminating her job by reposting and filling her prior position as Director of Curriculum Developmentwith an individual of lessor academic and professional qualifications was and is a violation of the Plaintiff’s Civil Rights and a right to Equal Protection under the law…,” read the suit.
The suit is also loaded with language about the conduct of the former superintendent, Fred Foresteire, and indicates School Committee members and City officials successfully lumped her in with that alleged behavior.
“By reason of the unlawful, wrongful, and improper association of the Plaintiff with the prior Superintendent, and by virtue of the School Committee’s maligning of her character by association of the sexual predator who served as Superintendent before her, the Defendant Everett School Committee barred her from resuming her position as Director of Curriculum Development,” the suit read.
The suit indicated that since the time of not being considered for the superintendent job, Gauthier “has been humiliated and has suffered great pain, and has endured great mental suffering, and has been otherwise Damaged.” The Counts in the suit include (Count 1) Breach of Contract; (Count 2) Malicious Interference with Contractual Relations; (Count 3) Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing; and (Count 4) Violations of Plaintiff’s Constitutional Rights Under the Massachusetts Bill of Rights and Under the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and Violations Against U.S. Codes