East Hampton private school teachers gave whiskey to students while traveling abroad, bullied one student who’s a billionaire’s son, and forced the student to switch schools, the boy’s family claims in a lawsuit against the school.
Stefan Soloviev, one of America’s top 100 landowners, and his son, Hayden, filed suit Tuesday in Suffolk County court seeking $10 million in damages from the nonprofit Ross School for negligence, breach of duty and emotional distress, among other claims.
“What happens on the glacier, stays on the glacier,” one of the teachers, Sinead Quinlan, allegedly said while leading the children in a toast with the whiskey after touring Patagonia, the sparsely populated tip of South America in March 2020.
“Someone tells your child, ‘what happens at school stays at school,’ that’s not a trusting environment and under no circumstances should these teacher-chaperones or the school permit this type of conduct,” said Glenn Spiegel of Becker & Poliakoff, who represents the plaintiffs. “It shouldn’t have happened and should never happen again.”
Hayden, who was in the 11th grade at the time, alleged that the teachers later berated him until he turned over access to his school-sanctioned social media account that was used to document the class trip. The teenager felt so uncomfortable with the teachers’ conduct that he returned home early and reported the incident to the administration, which refused to disclose the outcome of its investigation, the lawsuit alleged. The student felt so ostracized that he instead rolled in public school, where he is expected to graduate this spring.
Head of School William J. O’Hearn, III and Dan Weiner, an attorney with the Manhattan-based law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed who is defending the school, released a statement in response to the allegations.
“While the School takes seriously any assertion of misconduct — whether it be by students, teachers or administrators — it is confident that the Solovievs’ claims of damages in this case are without merit,” the statement read. “Far from being ‘forced to unenroll’ at the school, Hayden Soloviev and his father freely elected to have him attend East Hampton High School for his senior year.”