Northeastern School District mum on terms of 'leftist lie' principal deal
The Northeastern school board approved a separation agreement with former principal Scott D'Orazio on Monday but refused to disclose any details about the terms of the deal.
D'Orazio is a former Shallow Brook Intermediate School principal who earlier this year was accused of posting a meme calling the Black Lives Matter movement a “leftist lie” to his personal Facebook page.
The board voted 7-0 Monday night to approve the separation agreement without discussion on the motion. Board member Christopher Leh recused himself from the vote. The board did not disclose details of the agreement at the meeting.
Superintendent Stacey Sidle said Tuesday she could not release details of the agreement, and any information about it must be sought via a Right-to-Know request. The York Dispatch filed a Right-to-Know request Tuesday seeking the terms of the deal.
George Margetas, one of D'Orazio's attorneys, said Tuesday he could not share details of the agreement until the district released the information.
As such, the terms of the deal were unclear as of Tuesday morning, including how much public funding was spent in order to reach an agreement with D'Orazio. Margetas said D'Orazio was granted "one lump-sum payment" in the agreement, but he would not specify the amount.
Earlier this year, D'Orazio's attorneys indicated that they believed the then-principal's post was protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Margetas said he could not comment on whether D'Orazio planned to file a lawsuit against the district, but said he and D'Orazio's other attorney, Edward Paskey, do not plan to be involved in the case once the agreement is finalized.
"Mr. Scott D’Orazio concluded that now is the proper time and circumstances to put this matter behind him," D'Orazio's legal team said in a statement issued Tuesday. "Nobody wants to return to a position knowing that their employer does not welcome them or their talents."
D'Orazio's Facebook post came amid nationwide protests over the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sidle previously recommended D'Orazio's firing.
"Of course D'Orazio believes Black Lives Matter," D'Orazio's legal team said in the statement.
D'Orazio was replaced in October by John Carlisle, who is now serving as the interim principal at Shallow Brook.
Initially, a hearing before the district's school board was scheduled for July. It was postponed until September, but that meeting was also postponed.
Margetas said D'Orazio and the district's legal team came to a mutual agreement to postpone the public hearings in an effort to try to reach a settlement.
"Recognizing the call for new leadership at Shallow Brook Intermediate, the Board and the Administration believe that the interests of the School District and the community were best served by approving the Separation Agreement," Sidle said in an email. "This will allow all parties to move forward without further disruption."
It wasn't the first time D'Orazio had been at the center of controversy. In 2019, two nurses filed a lawsuit against the district alleging they were mistreated by D'Orazio.
One claimed he undermined her medical needs after she was diagnosed with cancer, while the other alleged he refused to let her leave the room and demanded to see her phone, which he believed held evidence of him with another school employee, according to a Fox 43 report.
That lawsuit was later settled and the terms were not made public.