Linda Lambert placed on paid leave

Russell Anglin

A Tucumcari teacher who claims she was reassigned in retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint was placed on administrative leave Thursday while school officials say they investigate charges of possible employee misconduct.

Tucumcari Assistant Superintendent Dave Johnson gave a statement by phone Friday regarding Linda Lambert’s paid leave.

“The district has become aware of circumstances that merit investigation into possible employee misconduct. The staff member has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of the investigation,” Johnson said. “As you know, the district has an absolute obligation to remain confidential with regard to personnel matters and will not comment on an ongoing investigation. Our focus remains on the business of providing a quality education for our students.”

Charles Goodmacher, a consultant with the state National Education Association, confirmed Monday that Lambert was the employee placed on leave.

The state human rights bureau issued a determination of probable cause March 31 stating Lambert has sufficient evidence to claim school district officials retaliated against her for complaining of sexual harassment by former school principal David Castillo.

Lambert claims she was re-assigned to a position she was not qualified for after filing the complaint with the school district and said she faces unsafe working conditions at her job.

A report released by the Tucumcari Police Department Tuesday states Lambert went to the Dan C. Trigg Hospital emergency room March 30. Lambert claimed she had been assaulted by one of her special education students.

According to Officer Denny Hill’s report, Lambert claimed she had been punched, kicked, headbutted, bitten and spat on by the student.

“On investigation I saw Lambert’s face appeared to red on both cheeks and across her nose. She had some discoloration on her left jaw. She had red marks on her neck,” Hill’s report states.

Goodmacher said school district officials first notified Lambert she would be put on paid leave to ensure she was placed in a safe working environment last week, and that she later received notification that she was being investigated for misconduct.

Goodmacher said he believes Lambert’s placement on paid leave is a result of her decision to talk to the Quay County Sun about her complaint.

“I think it’s definitely no coincidence,” Goodmacher said.

Goodmacher said he and Lambert will meet with school district officials Thursday to discuss Lambert’s leave.