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Mulderig’s attorney, Phillip Steck, has confirmed that the EEOC ruled against Richards. The commission found that he engaged in gender discrimination, retaliation and created a hostile work environment.
Steck declined to comment any further on the ruling.
Robert Schiller is a former principal of Lake Placid Middle-High School. He presented the petition of nearly 600 signatures to school board President Phil Baumbach at Tuesday night’s regular meeting, “I’m only the messenger,” Schiller added. “The people of this school community are calling for the resignation of Dr. Richards. It is in everyone’s best interest if Dr. Richards resigns immediately. The teachers, the students, the parents and the people of Lake Placid deserve better.”
Some of the concerns expressed by community members have focused on Mulderig’s gender-discrimination complaint, but others say the problems with Richards go beyond that, including mismanagement of the district’s budget.
Patricia Garrett has taught in nearly every classroom in the district and worked in the main office at the middle-high school. She says she’s spoken to a majority of teachers, students and parents in the district and has found a prevailing sense of dissatisfaction, “We do not just have a hostile working environment, we have a toxic working environment where fear prevails and bullying and intimidation are motivating factors,” she said. “This is unacceptable. We need to restore respect and a positive working environment right now.”
The school board did not respond to the petition at Tuesday night’s meeting. A message left for Richards Wednesday was not returned.