School administrators hold meeting with Lambert

Russell Anglin

Tucumcari Schools administrators held a due-process hearing April 21 with special education teacher Linda Lambert to address allegations of misconduct, according to Charles Goodmacher, a consultant with the state National Education Association.

Lambert was placed on paid administrative leave April 14 amid allegations of misconduct.

Lambert said she was reassigned to a teaching position she was not qualified for in retaliation for filing a sexual harassment complaint against former high school principal David Castillo.

Goodmacher would not comment on what took place during the hearing or what misconduct Lambert was accused of, but said he thought school administrators did not have evidence to justify allegations of misconduct. He said he expects the case to be dropped.

“The district called her in for what they call a ‘Loudermill’ hearing. It’s one of those legal terms that refers to a previous case some time ago that established the principle where an employee with due process rights is going to be disciplined in a way that involves … where they may have some amount of pay taken away. They have a due-process-type hearing. The attorney for the district had promised that she would send a summary of the allegations against Linda and that at that time they would expect a written response from us about those allegations and we never received that summary and we haven’t heard from them since,” Goodmacher said.

“I think they’re just going to ride out the rest of the year with her on administrative leave. Her complaint about the sexual harassment and retaliation is still unresolved, too,” Goodmacher said.

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 filing the complaint. Lambert is one of four school employees to file a complaint against the school district.

On Tuesday, Tucumcari Schools’ attorney Carol Helms responded to an open records request filed by the Quay County Sun. Helms said she would disclose the settlement terms reached between Diane Trujillo and the school district. Trujillo also filed a complaint with the state human rights bureau alleging district officials retaliated against her for complaining of sexual harassment by David Castillo.

The Quay County Sun had not received information on the terms of settlement Tuesday afternoon.

Helms declined to comment on Lambert’s paid leave or her April hearing.

Linda Lambert’s attorney, Roxie Rawls De Santiago, declined comment Tuesday.