Fired Teacher Files Court Motion
By WestKyStar Staff
PADUCAH, KY - Former Reidland High School teacher Shawnda Pacheco has filed a motion for a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court.
Pacheco was fired in January after the McCracken County School District's investigation into a letter to the Paducah Sun's editor. Pacheco filed a memorandum Monday in support of a temporary restraining order. The order would allow her to remain on the job as a Spanish teacher in Reidland while her case is reviewed.
Pacheco and a student co-wrote the letter to the Sun in December expressing concerns over what they said were threats made at the school.
The letter brought about an investigation by the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department, which ultimately led to Reidland high and middle schools being closed for a day. After the incident, the school district, headed by Superintendent Nancy Waldrop, began an investigation that resulted in Pacheco being fired on Jan. 18.
The Sun reports that the filing explains the entire December incident. The motion claims that the letter Pacheco wrote was protected under her First Amendment rights. Her attorney, Thomas Osborne says Pacheco was a citizen speaking out about a matter of public concern, which is protected under her right to freedom of speech. She also has a perfect diciplinary record and is a tenured teacher, Osborne said.
The Sun reports that Molly Goodman, the system’s director of public relations, said the district will not comment on the matter.
Pacheco has also filed a letter with intent to respond to the charges against her. Once she responds to Waldrop’s termination letter, the state Education Commission will review her case.
Pacheco will face proceedings with both the Education Commission and the Education Professionals Standards Board. She could see an Education Commission tribunal as early as March, but the standards board proceedings could take more than a year. The EPSB will have the final call on whether or not Pacheco can continue teaching.