A parent who filed suit against the Maranacook schools claiming that a teacher placed a bag over his daughter’s head to humiliate her is now one of Readfield’s representatives on the regional school board.

Adam Woodford was appointed in a 5-0 vote by Readfield selectmen last month. He is the interim replacement for James Marr, who resigned in mid-September.

Woodford was appointed to serve until June 30 and is one of Readfield’s four representatives to the board of directors of Regional School Unit 38/Maranacook schools.

Woodford, 38, who works at Dingley Press, addressed the lawsuit at the selectmen’s meeting before his appointment. He said he had attended many school board meetings since the 2015 incident at Readfield Elementary School involving his daughter.

“Litigating was not my intent throughout the whole entire thing with the school board,” Woodford told the selectboard, saying he was forced to do that to get information about personnel.

He said the school board discussions now have little to do with the lawsuit and that he would recuse himself from anything involving the case.

He said he found the school board meetings and operations to be interesting, and he added, “I think it’s important to have community members be listened to by the school board.”

Woodford reiterated that concern Wednesday, saying the school system is a bureaucracy.

“It becomes impersonal,” he said, adding that he intends to be a sounding board for parents.

Woodford declined to commit to run for the elective post. However, he also noted that his youngest daughter is in first grade, so he anticipates being with the district for quite a while. Another of Woodford’s four daughters, Hannah, is the student representative to the school board.

Selectboard members thanked Woodford for volunteering for the job. His was the only application for the post contained in the selectboard packet.

The post had been advertised on the town’s website for a month before the appointment.

Woodford and his wife, Michelle Woodford, on behalf of their daughter “SW,” sued RSU 38 and a teacher, Laura Reville, of Vienna, in November 2016, charging that Reville placed a bag over their daughter’s head four times during class from September to November 2015 in an act aimed at humiliating and embarrassing her. Reville is a fifth-grade teacher at Readfield Elementary School.

The parents say in the lawsuit that the head-bagging was reported by another student in the class and later investigated by Superintendent Donna Wolfrom. The parents also say they confronted Reville, who indicated “it was in jest.”

At the end of November 2015, the Woodfords’ daughter was transferred to another classroom.

The Woodfords, through attorneys Seth Brewster and Neal Pratt, sued the district, claiming it violated the state Freedom of Access Act and an anti-bullying statute.

The lawsuit, which originated in Kennebec County Superior Court, was removed to federal court by John Wall III, the attorney defending Reville.Wall sought to have it handled in U.S. District Court on the basis that the Woodfords seek “damages for alleged violations of the United States Constitution.”

In a response to claims in the lawsuit, Wall wrote that Reville denies placing a bag over the girl’s head in the middle of class to humiliate and embarrass her.

It also says Reville discussed with the parents “instances in which their daughter’s uncontrollable laughter prompted (Reville) to take actions to calm their daughter down.”

It also says that Reville’s conduct “did not violate any clearly established constitutional or statutory rights of the plaintiffs.”

The school district, in a Jan. 5 response to the complaint by attorneys Michael Buescher and Bruce W. Smith, denies the lawsuit’s allegations.

The judge recently granted a confidentiality order, which allows documents to be shared among the parties but not made public.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]

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