School Superintendent Loses Job Offer After Addressing Women as “Ladies”

A school superintendent in Massachusetts abruptly had aq job offer yanked after he reportedly committed a “microaggression.” File photo: Roman Babakin, Shutter Stock, licensed.

EASTHAMPTON, MA – A man who was offered a job as a school superintendent in Massachusetts abruptly had the offer yanked after he reportedly committed the “microaggression” of referring to two women on the school’s committee as “ladies” in e-mail correspondence that he had sent to them. 

On March 23, Vito Perrone had been offered the position as the head of Easthampton Schools, but soon afterwards had the job rescinded prior to his start date when he sent an e-mail the school’s female chairperson and executive assistant; after that he realized that the salary and number of sick days for his three-year contract – which he had not signed yet –  was less than he had been hoping. 

“This job was not about the money for me,” he said. “I honestly felt like I was coming home to Easthampton. I coached football here. I was principal here when we built the school. I have such wonderful memories…I was excited to come back.” 

However, Perrone noted that he had addressed Chairperson Cynthia Kwiecinski and Executive Committee Assistant Suzanne Colby as “ladies” in his e-mail; Kwiecinski quickly replied, interpreting the “hostile and derogatory” phrase as a “microaggression.” 

“The fact that he didn’t know that as an educator was a problem,” Kwiecinski reportedly scolded Perrone. 

Shortly afterwards, Perrone was notified that the committee had voted to pull his job offer off the table, a move that he said left him genuinely flabbergasted. 

“I was shocked. I grew up in a time when ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ was a sign of respect. I didn’t intend to insult anyone,” he said. “I don’t want people to think I was not willing to negotiate in good faith. I have chosen not to just leave it as ‘negotiations stalled,’ I would rather share my truth, my sadness and disappointment and try to find a way forward positively.” 

Perrone said that he contacted the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents for assistance, was told that they could not intervene because he had not yet signed his contract when the job offer was rescinded. 

“Honestly, I am truly, truly disappointed that I won’t be in Easthampton in that building,” he said. “I’m just sad.” 

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