A federal lawsuit has been brought by several educators in the Greenburgh Central School District in Westchester County, alleging that Superintendent Ronald O. Ross bullied staff members by using bigoted terms regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation. An equal opportunity bigot so to speak.
If the claims in a federal lawsuit brought by a principal, four teachers and three other school employees are accurate, the superintendent of the Greenburgh Central School District in Westchester County repeatedly disparaged his staff with bigoted terms, whether they were black or white, Jewish or Muslim, male or female, gay or heterosexual.
Ronald O. Ross, the superintendent, is accused of calling staff members “Oreo,” “white devil” and “dyke,” among other slurs, sometimes to their faces.
When the high school principal suggested setting up a joint Thanksgiving cultural event with Solomon Schechter School, a Jewish day school nearby, Mr. Ross replied, according to the lawsuit, “I don’t want anything to do with the Jew school.”
And he is accused of telling a Muslim English teacher, “Your presence is a threat to the safety of our children because your husband or people could come in at any time and blow up this place.”
“He was an equal opportunity discriminator,” said Jonathan Lovett, the White Plains lawyer who filed the lawsuit last week on behalf of the eight school employees, four of whom are identified in the lawsuit as black and four of whom are white.
On Monday night, the school board voted to place Ross on “administrative reassignment” until a hearing can be held. The school board appears to have been well aware of the racial allegations, having hired an investigative firm in October to address issues regarding Ross.
Ross was previously profiled in the New York Times in 2000, in an article titled, “An Educator With a Vision Of Racial Harmony.” At that time, Ross was superintendent at Mount Vernon schools and looking to unite a district “bitterly divided along racial lines.”
WHEN Ronald O. Ross became Mount Vernon’s Superintendent of Schools in September 1998, the city’s school board was bitterly divided along racial lines.
”I saw that as a microcosm of America,” Mr. Ross said. ”I grew up in the civil rights era, and I felt that if we could accomplish a change here in Mount Vernon that would be a model for the rest of the country.”
Now he is being accused of being divisive himself, calling his employees all sorts of racist, homophobic terms, and anti-Semitic terms.