Andrew Trees—the teacher fired from Riverdale's tony Horace Mann School in January and the author of Academy X, a novel satirizing life inside an elite private school very much like Horace Mann!— filed suit today in Bronx County's New York State Supreme Court. He charges the school with breach of contract and defamation. Trees has been awful quiet since his firing—now we know why!
Tom Kelly, Horace Mann's Head of School, said, according to the complaint, that Trees was terminated because of the book, not because of job performance—although he had previously told Trees that he "personally enjoyed" the book and that its publication would not interfere with his employment there.
In the filing, Trees claims that Horace Mann didn't obey its own due process policies involved in the firing of an employee.
The document says:
In an unfortunate example of life imitating art, Defendant Horace Mann embarked on a smear campaign against Plaintiff Trees as punishment for writing Academy X (before firing him), just as the fictional protagonist of Academy X was a teacher persecuted by a corrupt school administration because of his refusal to play along with the school's kowtowing to wealthy parents and their "by any means necessary" attitude toward college admissions for their progeny.
Oh those parents! Speaking of, let's never forget that Silda Wall—governor Eliot Spitzer's wife—is one of the committee members that hired Kelly. Kelly later censored her daughter Elyssa Spitzer in her work on the story for the Horace Mann school newspaper.