Ex-substitute teacher files suit for $100,000

January 11, 1995|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Sun Staff Writer

A Pasadena man has filed a $100,000 lawsuit against the Anne Arundel County school system, claiming he was wrongly fired after working 11 days as a substitute teacher last year.

Timothy M. Trogdon was hired to teach three history classes at Arundel High School in the fall of 1993 while another teacher was on extended sick leave.

In the suit, filed Friday, Mr. Trogdon contends that he was hired as a long-term substitute with the promise of a permanent position if the other teacher did not return, but that he was fired without cause his second week on the job.

A Dec. 14, 1993, letter obtained by The Sun indicates that school officials did list reasons for Mr. Trogdon's firing.

In the letter, William H. Scott, then assistant superintendent, outlined for Mr. Trogdon the reasons he was fired: making an alleged racial remark in class, failing to follow the agenda, having a noisy class with "kids cursing and leaving the room" and reporting late for work without calling.

In the letter, Mr. Scott offered to allow Mr. Trogdon "a new start dTC to be considered as an approved substitute after several successful daily substitute experiences."

Mr. Trogdon said he refused that opportunity, demanding instead that the school system deliver on its original promise of a full-time permanent teaching position.

In March 1994, Mr. Trogdon met with Ronald L. Beckett, associate superintendent for administration and support services, to discuss the situation.

Notes from the meeting, obtained by the Sun, indicate that Mr. Beckett and Mr. Trogdon talked 30 minutes.

"He basically disagrees that his experience at Arundel was unsuccessful," Mr. Beckett wrote.

"He denies racial comments, denies discipline problems, denies being late for work.

"[He] claims he was not helped, was in fact unsupported, not properly counseled nor confronted, and is a victim of reverse discrimination."

Mr. Beckett again recommended that Mr. Trogdon accept several daily substitute assignments to earn his way back onto the approved list of substitutes, according to school system records.

Mr. Trogdon again refused and began efforts to have the county school board hear an appeal of his firing.

The school board rejected his appeal, noting that substitutes are not covered under union contracts that guarantee employees the right to an appeal.

Mr. Trogdon's appeal of that decision is pending before the state Board of Education.

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