GREENWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced a civil rights investigation into “any potentially illegal discrimination or actionable misconduct” related to a video that appears to show a Greenwich elementary school’s assistant principal talking about discriminatory hiring practices.
The now-viral video, released by Project Veritas, a highly partisan group that has been accused of deceptive practices in the past, shows Cos Cob Elementary School’s Assistant Principal Jeremy Boland saying that he wouldn’t hire Catholics, conservatives, older applicants, or anyone he didn’t believe was progressive.
News 8 has not independently verified the video’s authenticity. It does appear that Boland does not know he is being recorded. Due to legal reasons, News 8 has chosen not to air the video.
As of Thursday, there are four investigations underway into the allegations.
A new law gives the Attorney General the authority to broadly examine the content and circumstances of the video to see if anyone’s civil rights were violated.
“This video is disturbing and if teachers, school staff, or applicants for education jobs have been illegally discriminated against for any reason, I will take action,” Tong said.
James O’Keefe, the CEO of Project Veritas, spoke to News 8 about the video Wednesday night.
“He knew he was being spoken to, he was in a public place, and we stand by our reporting the same way you guys stand by your reporting and you do investigations and quote people on background,” O’Keefe said. “You don’t see their faces, you can see his lips moving here. You can see his face. You can hear his intonation.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Toni Jones said the school district was made aware of the video Tuesday night, adding, “We intend to do a full investigation and until that time, we will not make any public statements. We ask that you respect the investigation process during this time.”
Jones sent an email to the Greenwich Public Schools community Wednesday afternoon, saying Boland had been placed on administrative leave.
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.
Once again, 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.Dr. Toni Jones, Superintendent of Schools
Greenwich’s First Selectman Fred Camillo is calling for a full investigation “into not only this administration but the damage caused to applicants, past and present.”
Now, Republicans are calling for the state legislature to launch its own hearing through the education committee.
“When we hear parents crying out for more control over their children’s education and concerns about indoctrination, it’s videos like this that only fuel that fire,” said State Rep. Vincent Candelora, Republican Minority House Leader.
Gov. Lamont said if the legislature wants a hearing, that’s their call, but he is calling the civil rights investigation appropriate.
“I hate these ‘gotcha’ guys and clipping of the video trying to make political fodder out of it. That said, I thought the words spoke for themselves. We’re going to investigate the words and what’s behind them,” Lamont said.
If Tong finds allegations of civil rights being violated are true, a judge can levy fines of up to $2,500 per violation. Tong doesn’t have any authority to lodge criminal charges, but if he finds any, he will transfer the case to the state’s attorney.
The video sparked concerns from Christopher Healy, the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference’s executive director, who called the comments, “extremely disturbing and should be treated as a serious breach of the public trust and state laws.”
The comments on Catholics and other indoctrination techniques by the Cos Cob Elementary School assistant principal are vile and they do a profound disservice to the many Catholic teachers in public schools both in Greenwich and across the state.
It is our hope this is an isolated incident and not reflective of all dedicated teachers, administrators, and support staff who are trying to provide a quality education to our children.Christopher Healy, executive director with Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference
Catholic League President Bill Donohue called for Boland to be immediately fired.
There is no role for an admitted anti-Catholic bigot in any school in the nation. What makes this case a legal slam dunk is that Boland is not simply spewing anti-Catholic vitriol, he is in charge of hiring and has explicitly said he would not hire Catholics. That is illegal. If justice is not done by Dr. Jones, and other school officials, the Catholic League will pursue every legal challenge available.Catholic League President Bill Donohue
The Archdiocese of Hartford said he was “shocked and appalled” by Boland’s comments.
Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn) released a statement Wednesday afternoon on hiring practices at local school districts.
Discrimination of any kind has no place in Connecticut, especially in our public schools. This is not aligned with our Connecticut values. The Connecticut State Department of Education is aware of the incident, has been in contact with Greenwich Public School administrators, and is monitoring the situation’s progress.Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.)
I am deeply troubled and, frankly, angry about what I heard on the tapes released yesterday, where a Greenwich School District Assistant Principal bragged about purposefully hiring teachers who indoctrinate young students, denigrating Catholics and other people of faith, and threatening to blackball teachers who don’t subscribe to radical ‘woke’ ideology.Bob Stefanowski, Republican candidate for Connecticut governor
“This country was built on religious tolerance,” U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in a statement. “Religious discrimination is inexcusable and illegal. Of course, I support a full investigation.”
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Leora Levy also commented on the video at a rally in front of the school Wednesday night.
“The assistant principal has been screening teachers, hiring teachers only with a progressive ideology,” she said. “He is hoping to influence young children to think the way they do.”
According to Connecticut Law 46a-60b, “It shall be a discriminatory practice for an employer… to refuse to hire or employ or to bar or discharge from employment any individual or to discriminate against such individual… because of the individual’s race, color, religious creed, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, ancestry, present or past history of mental disability, intellectual disability, learning disability, physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness or status as a veteran.”
News 8 has reached out to Boland for comment but we have yet to hear back.