EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The search for a Superintendent in Easthampton is now gaining international attention after one candidate, Dr. Vito Perrone, said his offer was taken back for using the term “ladies.”

Protesters say they are frustrated with how the school committee handled picking a new superintendent. 22News spoke with Perrone off camera, he found out he was offered the job on the 23rd when, he said, the school committee called the police on him for a well being check because he hadn’t answered his phone. Perrone said he had to accept the salary at the start of negotiations.

“We’ve been in contact with Dr. Perrone and aside from the rest of our negotiations with his contract, he’s accepted the position,” said Cynthia Kwiecinski of the Easthampton School Committee Chair.

Dr. Perrone said he was sent his contract and in replying to that email, he said there were parts he wanted to negotiate. But after the school committee went into Executive Session, he was told the committee rescinded the offer for using the term “ladies,” because it was a micro-aggression.

Shawn Sheehan, President of the Easthampton Education Association, said that vote should not have happened in executive session, “We’re not quite clear which committee members changed their votes. Did all committee members change their votes? We have some mistrust in the process.”

After his story has gained international attention, Perrone told 22News, “Can’t we bring people together and have a conversation and have a teachable moment?” He added, “That’s a starting point but when something happens and we just slam the door, it’s an ending and it just causes further divisiveness and it’s a problem.”

The school committee members did not return our request for comment. The Mayor’s office said she is waiting for legal clarification around executive session before commenting. The school committee is set to meet Tuesday night.

State Senator John Velis sent 22News the following statement on the incident:

“If the allegations are true that the incoming Easthampton Superintendent had his offer rescinded solely due to the way he addressed an email, then things have gone too far. This appears to be an over-the-top and disproportionate response to something, that if nothing else, could have been used as a teachable moment. Enough is enough. 

One person’s perceived microaggression is how another person was brought up to politely and respectfully speak to women. If this was indeed the only issue, this was an opportunity to learn and grow as a community, not to tear down and divide.”