LAKE PLACID - The superintendent of the Lake Placid Central School District has apologized to faculty and staff for using inappropriate language in reference to female employees.
Superintendent Randy Richards issued a district-wide apology letter Friday, four days after the Enterprise reported that in February he told middle-high school Principal Katherine Mulderig he needed someone "bitchier" to govern the "bitchy" female teachers in the elementary school.
Mulderig first told Board of Education President Phil Baumbach of the interaction on Feb 18., but when the board told her the matter was between her and Richards, she filed a gender-discrimination complaint against Richards with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on March 7. An administrative hearing on the complaint was held May 2 in Lake Placid, during which Richards admitted to using the offensive language.
Randy Richards, superintendent, Lake Placid Central School District
(Enterprise file photo)
In a copy of Friday's letter obtained by the Enterprise, Richards said he is "responsible for ensuring our educators are afforded a workplace which encourages professionalism and mutual respect."
Richards also wrote that the "inappropriate language" was not meant to be directed specifically at Mulderig or any other individual. He said he regrets using such language.
Phil Baumbach, president of the district's Board of Education, said the board was aware that Richards was going to issue an apology.
"We're happy that he's addressing the language he used in conversation with a staff member," Baumbach said.
Richards and the board took some criticism over the matter at a board meeting Tuesday night. Then, in a letter to the editor published Friday in the Enterprise, Patricia Gallagher of Wilmington, a parent of three children in the district, said such language is never appropriate in the workplace and said Richards "cannot be left in a position to make decisions for our students."
Gallagher told the Enterprise Friday that she hasn't seen the letter and wouldn't comment until she had. But she added that aside from the situation with Mulderig, she has disagreed with many of Richards' decisions.
"I question his judgment," Gallagher said, noting the she still stands behind her letter.
Richards and Mulderig could not be immediately reached for additional comment.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 26 or firstname.lastname@example.org.