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RCS teacher sues colleagues

The demotion was classified as "punitive" by the school because of a poor performance review and was the impetus of his case against his colleagues, according to Pickett's lawyer, who said the demotion was unwarranted.

Lammly chairs the social studies department in the middle school where Pickett now works.

Baynes contends that Wright either personally revised or instructed Principal Hakim Jones to alter Pickett's performance review "in order to support Wright and Bonafide's unconstitutional motives for terminating or constructively terminating Pickett."

Baynes has advised Pickett not to comment while the litigation is pending.

Pickett contends he was originally targeted when he spoke out against decisions made by the school's board of education during public meetings. He disagreed with the board's decision to discontinue its student exchange program in Rome, Italy, and eliminate the position of vice principal in the high school and middle school, according to Baynes.

Subsequently, the lawsuit states, Wright and Bonafide prompted an investigation into an improper relationship between Pickett and a female student that allegedly happened during a 2005 school-sponsored trip to Rome. The female student later publicly denied any relationship occurred, according to Pickett's lawyer.

Pickett and another teacher chaperoned 31 students to Rome in February of 2005.

Baynes said Pickett was docked pay due to being absent from the school during the Rome trip and failing to properly sign out of school, but he currently retains his same salary. He has also lost his certification to award college credits as an adjunct professor through the University at Albany, as a result of his demotion to the middle school.

Bonafide's wife, Ann Marie, was given the adjunct professor status and the additional salary that accompanies it, according to Baynes.

"Although his (Pickett's) economic losses were not huge," Baynes said, "his reputation has suffered substantially."

At least one parent asked to have her child removed from Pickett's classroom due to his rumored relationship with a female student, Baynes said.

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