At the core of this legal action is Michael and Anne Josephson’s contention that, as a result of both malice and malfeasance, Archer’s Head of School, Elizabeth English, transformed a disciplinary issue involving a minor and momentary act of rudeness to a teacher by one of their children into a major confrontation resulting in the removal from the Archer of both that child and her younger sister, the resignation of Anne Josephson from the Board of Trustees, the defamation of Michael Josephson and a complete and permanent banishment from the Archer campus of the entire Josephson family (including two daughter who previously graduated from Archer and are attending college in New York).
Crucial Facts. This legal action centers on conduct of Elizabeth English and the Archer School for Girls’ Board of Trustees which removed Anne and Michael Josephson’s two youngest daughters (Child 1, a 17 year-old high school senior; and Child 2, her 15-year old sister) from Archer. Plaintiffs contend that this conduct was unprofessional, malicious and unlawful and that it inflicted and continues to inflict extreme emotional distress on their two children and themselves.
Child 1 was forced to withdraw because she and her parents were unwilling to subject her to a discretionary disciplinary process (for a minor act of rudeness described below) mandated by Ms. English in knowing disregard of a comprehensive report of a licensed clinical psychologist concluding that the process was likely to inflict severe and lasting emotional harm on Child 1 (and offering several alternative sanctions to meet the school’s needs).
Child 2’s Archer education was terminated by Ms. English because she concluded that advocacy on behalf of Child 1 by Mr. Josephson demonstrated an unwillingness to support her decisions invoking her purported right to dismiss any student whose parent engages in conduct she finds offensive. There was no warning that his advocacy was jeopardizing the status of Child 2 and Ms. English refused to state the criteria for her judgment.
Contrary to instinctive assumptions, the Josephson children are not “privileged or spoiled and their parents are not permissive. the suit claims large punitive damages but it is not essentially about money, its about a family genuinely trying to protect and vindicate their children and an effort to change the law to protect other families from vindictive, arbitrary and capricious leadership.
While the Josephson’s believe that the efforts to discipline their older daughter (Child 1) for being rude to a teacher during a test was way beyond the line and were way out of proportion to the offense, they ask you to focus on the decision to oust her younger sister for no reason other than that their dad advocated for an alternative sanction on behalf of Child 1. Then also consider what it tells you about the motives of Ms. English that a day before the graduation ceremonies, long after both daughters were removed from the school, she banned the entire Josephson family from coming on to campus just so she could strike one more blow by forbidding the Josephson daughters from attending the graduation of their best friends
This punitive, retaliatory action was taken despite pleas by Child 2′s parents that forcing an openly gay adolescent out of an environment she adjusted to and into an unknown social setting would result in extreme trauma and anxiety.
The plaintiffs contend that Ms. English’s actions were driven by personal animosity and malice (see “Compelling Evidence of Malice”) and a seemingly compulsive need to demonstrate her personal power and demand “support” for her decisions in a manner that is equivalent of subservience (see description of her leadership style at “Defendant Ms. English” under the “Parties” tab).
The Josephsons also contend that Ms. English conduct and inappropriate leadership style was enabled by the support and approval of the Archer Board of Trustees (see “Why the Board is Liable” under “Crucial Issues” tab).
Plaintiffs contend Ms. English’s propensity to punish anyone who opposes her and intimidate anyone who might be thinking of doing so with petty, malicious and vindictive actions is demonstrated by her decision formally banning all Josephsons from appearing on campus for any reason. The letter announcing this ban was sent just two days before graduation ceremonies. This forced Anne and Michael Josephson to tell their daughters they could not go to the graduation ceremony of their best friends as they had been looking forward to. (See full post with letters at Archer Bans Entire Josephson Family under the “Developments” Tab)
As a demonstration of autocratic power and an expression of animosity resulting from a previous confrontation concerning Ms. English’s decision to suppress negative survey data about drug use and drinking, Ms. English escalated a minor act of rudeness into a pretext to force one of Mr. Josephson’s children to withdraw during her last semester, and when Mr. Josephson advocated for this daughter, Ms. English in a clear case of retaliation, ousted a second, completely innocent daughter as well. Although every single interaction was documented, Ms English claims she felt intimidated. The record will show this is a complete pretext. Any parent who takes the time to understand the facts will be horrified.
There was only one meeting with Ms. English (which was tape recorded), every other interaction was by email (all are included in the Memo to Support Plaintiff’s offer to settle” in Settlement Efforts tab). After repeated efforts to specify why she terminated Child 2’s education at Archer, Ms. English was unable to cite a single thing that was improper or intimidating.
Please read the fully documented Revised Complaint under pleadings to get a full picture of the facts before forming any conclusions.