The parents of a Readfield Elementary student who they say had a bag placed on her head four times by her teacher have reached a tentative settlement with the Regional School Unit 38 and the teacher identified in the lawsuit.

In court papers, the proposed settlement for $95,000, would pay about $15,000 to the family — $5,500 for the child’s past therapy sessions and nearly $10,000 for a trust for the child’s benefit. The remainder would pay attorneys’ fees.

The settlement will be final once it’s signed by the judge in the case.

Both the Maranacook school district and the teacher have denied the allegations, and in the proposed settlement agreement none of the parties admits or concedes liability.

Michelle and Adam Woodford sued the school district and longtime teacher Laura Reville on behalf of their daughter. They claim that on four separate occasions in the fall of 2015, Reville put a paper bag over their daughter’s head in front of her classmates to embarrass or humiliate her. That, they said, led to bullying and other inappropriate conduct from fellow students.

The Woodfords say their requests for information in early 2016 on the investigation of the incident were unanswered by the district, and they pursued a Freedom of Access request.


The complaint, filed in November 2016 in Kennebec County Superior Court, charges that Regional School Unit 38 violated the state Freedom of Access Act and an anti-bullying statute in connection with results of a school investigation into the incidents.

The complaint states the four head-bagging incidents occurred Sept. 15 through Nov. 7, 2015, and that a different teacher learned about it from students on Nov. 8, 2015, and reported it to Principal Jeff Boston that day. It says School Superintendent Donna Wolfrom began an investigation as a result of that report.

It also says the Woodfords spoke with Reville about it on Nov. 10, 2015, and Reville said it was “in jest.”

The child was removed from Reville’s classroom at the end of that month in response to the parents’ request, a change that fueled “rumors that SW, a precocious and sensitive child, was too stupid to be in Reville’s classroom,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit charges Reville with “assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and a violation of the girl’s civil rights.” The complaint says no other children in the class had bags placed over their heads and that the girl “was subjected to bullying and other inappropriate conduct by other students.

The case was moved to U.S. District Court by John Wall III, attorney for Reville.


In Reville’s response to the allegations, she said she had discussed with the Woodfords “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.”

In addition to denying the allegations, the school district in its response said no other students were treated similarly.

In a statement provided by their attorney, the Woodfords said bullying is an important issue in the education of children — regardless of whether it is student-to-student or teacher-to-student conduct.

“This situation provided a teachable moment about bullying in the schools. We brought this action to get answers to our questions about the School’s investigation into these incidents. We also brought this action to, we hope, make sure that no other child has to suffer through what our daughter endured.

“With this settlement, we are grateful that this case has brought both attention to and a willingness to address this important issue. We hope that there will be a new standard of accountability for our school districts and teachers. We also hope that our districts will go above and beyond in future training of teachers, staff, and students, which would turn a negative into a positive.”


Neither Wall nor Bruce Smith, who is representing the Maranacook School District, immediately returned a call for comment.

A message left for Reville Monday evening was not immediately returned.

Adam Woodford was appointed as a Readfield representative to the school board in February to finish the unexpired term of a member who stepped down, and he was elected to the seat in May. In seeking the seat, Woodford said he would recuse himself from any board actions related to the case, but noted that the school board discussions at that time had little to nothing to do with the case.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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