District’s first Black superintendent is accusing school board of discrimination

Omar Easy filed a formal complaint against Wayland Public Schools in Massachusetts after he was suspended "without explanation" last week.

Omar Easy, the first Black superintendent of Wayland Public Schools in Massachusetts, is accusing his school board of discrimination and creating a hostile work environment.

Omar Easy (Photo: Wayland Public Schools)
Omar Easy (Photo: Wayland Public Schools)

Easy filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination on Friday after, he says, the Wayland School Committee placed him on leave “without explanation” earlier last week. The suspension occurred three weeks after Easy raised concerns about a hostile environment experienced by Black staff and students, the superintendent says in his official complaint, which also names the board’s chair and vice chair, the district, and the town of Wayland, which is in Boston’s outer suburbs.

Easy, a former NFL player who was later hired as principal of the Boston-area high school he graduated from, became Wayland Public Schools’ first black superintendent in February 2021.

Earlier this school year, on Dec. 21, 2022, Easy says he was the victim of a hate crime at work when his name and a racial slur were painted on public property next to Wayland High School. “This is not the first time explicitly racist behavior has targeted me, Black employees, and Black students in Wayland,” Easy says in his complaint. “Such behavior has been the apex of a hostile work environment fostered and stoked by the Wayland School Committee … This unlawful conduct has caused me severe and persistent harm.”

Following the appearance of the slur, the school committee repudiated the graffiti but took no further action to fix a “racially hostile environment,” Easy adds in his complaint.

The Wayland School Committee told local station WCVB that it would not comment on the complaint or Easy’s allegations because it is a legal matter. In a statement, the committee asserted that Wayland Public Schools “seeks to foster a welcoming, inclusive, anti-racist environment,” WCVB reported.

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The December 2022 incident was not the first time racist graffiti has appeared in the district. Sometime in late 2021, “BLACK PEOPLE DIE” and “ALL BLACK PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE THE DISTRICT NOW,” along with a racial slur, was scrawled in the middle school. Easy says the school committee condemned the messages but did not allow him to install security cameras in the hallway.

Easy spent eight years as a senior administrator in Everett Public Schools in his hometown, which, he says, is 13% Black compared to Wayland, where the Black population is less than 1%. Every Wayland school committee member has been white during his tenure as superintendent, he points out in his complaint. He also notes that the school committee last June rated him as proficient on his most recent performance evaluation and that he has secured over $460,000 in grants for Wayland’s schools.

He acknowledges in his complaint that the Wayland Teachers Association recently mounted a letter-writing campaign that criticized his performance and that the school committee has not supported him in this conflict with the union.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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