Chappaqua, NY — Michael Taylor, the only black administrator in the Chappaqua Central School District and an assistant principal at Horace Greeley High School (70 Roaring Brook Rd) is suing the district for racial discrimination.
In a federal lawsuit that was filed against the district on Nov. 22, Mr. Taylor, who is Chappaqua’s only black administrator, alleges that he was treated differently than his white counterparts in the hostile work environment in the wealthy, white district in the Westchester suburbs, that Hillary Clinton calls home.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Taylor has worked at Greeley since 2004 and was given tenure in 2007. Horace Greeley High School as an entity, Principal Robert Rhodes and outgoing Superintendent Lyn McKay are also named as defendants. Assistant Principal Taylor is seeking both economic and punitive damages.
McKay is no longer running the district; she resigned in October effective Jan. 2 as parental calls for her ouster mounted when the district’s high school sex abuse scandal morphed into a raging controversy over leadership. There have also been calls for Rhodes’ resignation.
In the lawsuit Mr. Taylor alleges retaliation against him, including a smaller office and heavier workload and the run-around about small things such as time-off requests.
The Daily Voice reports; Taylor’s most prominent bias accusation stems from when he brought his 9-year-old daughter to work in August 2013. The suit states that Taylor left her at his office, and told his secretary in advance, because he left for the Bronx to attend to what he called “an important personal matter that he believed would take a short amount of time.”
According to the lawsuit (see below), the assistant principal was brought up by the district on disciplinary charges for his action even though there is no policy prohibiting it. Furthermore, Taylor alleges that white colleagues who engaged in similar acts were never subject to discipline.
“Many employees of Defendants CCSD [Chappaqua Central School District] and HGHS [Horace Greeley High School] regularly bring their children with them to work,” the complaint states. “Those employees routinely send their children – unattended – to play in the school gym or visit with friends.”
Mr. Taylor was charged with disciplinary counts of misconduct, conduct unbecoming of an administrator and neglect of duty. He was subjected to a disciplinary hearing, called as a “3020-a” in March 2014, according to the lawsuit.
The hearing officer, who is white, allegedly told Mr. Taylor prior to the hearing’s start that he should accept any settlement offer from the district, “as the hearing officer intended to impose a much harsher penalty.”
As a result, the suit claims that Taylor accepted a deal under duress, which it terms “an unduly punitive settlement.”
The suit does not specify what the settlement’s terms are.