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Letter reveals reason for Tommy Layne's demotion

Tommy Layne appeared before the Sequatchie County Board of Education Nov. 5 to protest his reassignment on the grounds that he had not received adequate written information about the reasons for his demotion.

Nov. 9, 2018 – A Chattanooga TV station has revealed that the reason for Sequatchie County High School Principal Tommy Layne's recent demotion was because he provided "substantial misinformation" about two transferring students.


NewsChannel 9 said on their website yesterday that an open records request secured a copy for them of a letter from Director of Schools Michael “Pete” Swafford to Layne detailing the reason, in writing, for his reassignment to Griffith Elementary School.

The letter has the name of the school from which the students transferred redacted.


The demotion came one week after a controversy erupted when football players displayed the jerseys of two players who had came to SCHS after being charged with the attempted rape of a classmate at Grundy County High School. The redactions remove the name of the school involved, and the names of the students are not given.

The letter, printed by permission of NewsChannel 9:

"October 29, 2018

Re: Transfer of your job assignment

Dear Mr. Layne:

As I informed you on October 26, 2018, pursuant to T.C.A. § 49-5-510, I am transferring you from your position as the principal of Sequatchie County High School to another position as full time teacher/substitute teacher at Griffith County High School. You will continue to be paid your principal's salary through the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Thereafter, you will be paid a teacher's salary based upon the Sequatchie County Board of Education's salary scale.

As I explained to you, this transfer is a result of substantial and material misinformation you provided me in connection with two students who transferred from (REDACTED) to Sequatchie County High School. You informed me on numerous occasions that the records you received from the (REDACTED) did not indicate that the students were subject to any disciplinary action. In fact, both students were under long-term suspensions that had been modified with a remand to the (REDACTED) Alternative School. As a result of this misinformation, these students escaped the consequences of their actions, and Sequatchie County High School allowed at least one of them to play football when they would otherwise have been ineligible. This incident has damaged the reputation and integrity of the Sequatchie County Schools.

On behalf of the Sequatchie County Board of Education, I appreciate your years of faithful service to our school system. I hope and trust that you will continue your dedicated service in your new role.

Very truly yours,

Michael L. Swafford

Director of Schools"