What’s next? RCSD superintendent, 2 others face allegations

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Three employees are under investigation in the Rochester City School District, including superintendent Dr. Lesli Myers-Small. On Thursday evening, News 8 reported Myers-Small is facing harassment claims.

According to the Board of Education, all of these complaints were filed by another district employee.

Board president Van White would not go into further depth on what kinds of harassment claims were made.

The RCSD Board of Education issued the following statement Friday:

“The Rochester City School District Board of Education was informed yesterday evening that an internal complaint has been filed against three RCSD employees, including Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lesli Meyers Small, by another District employee. 

The Rochester City School District immediately retained Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP to serve as outside counsel to oversee an independent and thorough investigation of the facts underlying the complaint. To that end, and respecting the confidentiality and rights of all of the involved parties, the Rochester City School District Board of Education will not be commenting further on these allegations at the present time as we await the findings and recommendations of outside legal counsel.”

“These are allegations,” White said. “The purpose of the investigation is to ascertain the accuracy and/or truth of those allegations.”

Beyond that, a lot is unknown as the investigation is currently in its early stages. As for when we can learn more, it may depend on how long the investigation takes.

Beth Cordello, a lawyer specializing in employment and harassment at Pullano & Farrow says investigations like this tend to go fast.

“It’s a requirement under the law that these investigations be as thorough and expedient as possible, it’s not something you want lingering for any period of time,” Cordello said.

Cordello says the counsel will work to get as much info as possible from the accused and the accuser. This can be in the form of reviewing past phone calls, texts, emails and witnesses. Then once complete, “management would then make a determination into whether there is any merit to the claim, what the severity of the claim is, is this merely unprofessional, or does it arise to unlawful conduct.”

Cordello believes it’s important to remember — an independent investigation is no indication of any merit to a claim, or guilt of the person accused. It’s simply due diligence.

If the accuser is not satisfied with the results, they can choose to file in court.

“They have the option to file with the NYS Division of Human Rights or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and if they don’t receive the relief they are seeking there, they can go file in court,” she said.

The board did not specify what kinds of allegations were made for the other two employees.

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