Formerly terminated Troy teacher sues district, school board

TROY — Troy Area School District English teacher Tammy Woodward (formerly Tammy Chimics) has filed a lawsuit against the Troy Area School District, six school board members, three former board members and former Superintendent Charles Young following her termination and reinstatement stemming from allegations lodged against her then boyfriend, now husband, in late 2016.

The lawsuit, filed on March 21, claims that Young and board members acted in retaliation after Woodward took a public stand in support of her husband, Robert — the boys’ varsity basketball coach and a teacher at the time — after the district launched a second investigation into accusations that he had assaulted a student during basketball practice in November 2016.

Although an initial investigation conducted by then high school Principal Rebecca Stanfield had found those accusations unfounded, according to the lawsuit, Robert Woodward ended up suspended without pay from his coaching position after the school board held a “closed meeting” on Dec. 28. Furthermore, the lawsuit says the board publicly announced that Young would be conducting additional investigations into the assault allegations as well as the “apparent leaks of information surrounding the suspension of the basketball coach” with focus on how the public had obtained knowledge of the names of players involved in complaints.

Woodward was later terminated, and later reinstated, to his teaching position.

Tammy Woodward claimed that she was terminated on May 9, 2017 and upon being reinstated to her teaching position on Feb. 12, 2018 the school board retaliated against her for supporting Robert Woodward with a press release she had written in the spring of 2017 advocating for the coach and announcing school board comment sessions.

The “retaliation” included being transferred from teaching 12th grade English to teaching 10th grade English, where students are regularly tested on their performance, according to Tammy Woodward.

A “significant number” of media outlets published stories covering the terminations including The Daily Review who printed an article including the employees’ names, according to allegations made by Tammy Woodward, who believed that information was “confidential information” given to the Review by the school board or with their permission.

Tammy Woodward claims that the violations of district policy that led to her termination, (which allegedly occurred between Jan. 17 and Jan. 23, 2017) were “minor” and “even if somehow true” should not have led to termination as they have not for other district employees who have committed similar infractions.

Lawsuit paperwork lists two counts of which Tammy Woodward has filed complaints, count one being first amendment retaliation and count two being fourteenth amendment procedural due process.

Defendants include Troy Area School District, Sheryl Angove, John Morgan, Todd Curren, Daniel Martin, William Brasington, Darren Roy, Rebecca Nauta, Ursula Fox, William Hansel and Young. A jury trial is demanded.

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I am a reporter with The Daily and Sunday Review in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. See a story? Let me know!