An assistant principal of an elementary school in Greenwich, Conn., has been placed on administrative leave after he admitted to discriminating against Catholic and conservative teaching applicants.
Dr. Toni Jones, the superintendent of Greenwich Public Schools, notified families and staff on Wednesday evening of Jeremy Boland’s suspension from Cos Cob Elementary School.
“The following is an update regarding the viral video that contains footage of an administrator at Cos Cob School. Immediately, the staff member was placed on administrative leave,” Jones said. “We do not support any opinions that promote discriminatory hiring practices based on race, religion, gender, or age in any way, and we want to remind our entire community that our curriculum policies and procedures are strictly enforced by our Board.”
In a separate statement, Jones confirmed that the district plans to conduct an investigation into Boland’s hiring practices and comments.
Boland was caught on undercover video, captured by Project Veritas, declaring that he rejects candidates who espouse conservative or Catholic beliefs, are older than 30, or sympathize with concerns about parental rights in education. Instead he prioritizes recruiting non-Catholics because they’re less likely to be conservative, he said, making it easier to advance what he calls “subtle” progressive indoctrination in the classroom.
“You don’t hire them,” Boland said of Catholic applicants. “Because if someone is raised hardcore Catholic, it’s like they’re brainwashed. You can never change their mindset. So, when you ask them to consider something new, like a new opportunity, or ‘you have to think about this differently,’ they’re stuck — just rigid.”
Protestants, however, are a safer bet because they’re more likely to be progressive and will carry that ideology into curricula, he suggested. “I’m not a huge expert on religion, but Protestants in this area [of Connecticut] are probably the most liberal. But if they’re Catholic — conservative,” Boland said. “Believe it or not, the open-minded, more progressive teachers are actually more savvy about delivering a Democratic message without really ever having to mention politics.”
He acknowledged that tenure makes it difficult to terminate existing conservative teachers, so “I make an impact with the next teacher I hire. . . . I’ve hired maybe four or five people. They’re pretty good,” he said.
John-Paul Singh Deol, the head of the employment law practice at Dhillon Law Group Inc., told National Review that Boland’s application of religious animus to hiring at a public school is almost certainly illegal.
“This violates so many state and federal laws it is almost unbelievable. It is quite rare these days to see this kind of overt, systemic discrimination based on religious background. It violates Title VII, as well as Connecticut’s Fair Employment Practices Act,” he said. “In fact, religious discrimination in employment has been outlawed in Connecticut since at least 1937, almost thirty years before Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1964.”
There could be a case that Boland infringed on federal and state constitutional protections too, the lawyer noted.
Singh Deol said applicants who were turned down for a job at Cos Cob have legitimate cause to pursue litigation.
“Applicants who have not been hired by this school and others like it can and should sue. One way to determine whether they were the victim of these illegal hiring decisions is to look at who was actually hired. I am willing to bet there are few Catholics at this school and others in the area,” he added.