Attorney calls firing of choir director a 'witch hunt' carried o - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Attorney calls firing of choir director a 'witch hunt' carried out by 'schoolyard bully'

William Rayburn (Source: Submitted) William Rayburn (Source: Submitted)

A tenured Houston High School teacher lost his job following a five-minute meeting by the Germantown Board of Education.

The school board voted unanimously to fire William Rayburn, a tenured choir teacher, Monday morning following an internal investigation into several complaints of misconduct by students and parents. 

The firing comes after Rayburn was suspended in April by the school district amid allegations he kissed, touched, and made inappropriate comments toward students, according to a memo sent to him by the superintendent. 

Rayburn's attorney, Michael Gaines, said the accusations are not true. He called the investigation into Rayburn and his subsequent firing a "witch hunt."

“Dr. Rayburn is completely innocent of any and all of the allegations brought against him. Dr. Rayburn is an outstanding educator whose record and accomplishments are unmatched in his field. 

This is in my opinion a witch hunt and vendetta against Dr. Rayburn by Mr. Haddow [Assistant Superintendent Chief of Staff for Germantown Municipal Schools] and his minions in the system which was designed to achieve a predetermined outcome without any semblance of fairness or due process to which Dr. Rayburn is morally and legally entitled. 

The school gave us notice of their decision on Friday and held the board meeting to ratify it at 8.30 this Monday morning. None of the dozens of eye witnesses provided to the school by Dr Rayburn were ever contacted - not one. My only conclusion is that the school system didn’t want any facts or evidence of innocence to interfere with what they had already decided to do - which was fire Dr. Rayburn as quickly as possible based and false and incomplete data at best. 

They improperly tried this case in the press to prejudice Dr. Rayburn while he was required to remain silent and await the outcome. They also held the ratification meeting this morning without ever even considering the rebuttal and exculpatory evidence provided for them. 

Dr. Rayburn has advised us of his decision to fight the board's action at every level available to him in order to vindicate his good name and reputation. 

This will almost certainly end up in the chancery court, where the odds and procedures are decidedly more fair and even-handed. 

Mr. Haddow is, in my opinion, little more than a schoolyard bully who desperately needs a lesson in humility and due process.  We plan to impress that lesson upon him”

Parents at the school said Monday that they did not have all the facts in the case, but it still did not look good for Rayburn.

"If they fired him, there must have been enough evidence," Kara Willingham said. "I think it's just wrong for somebody, especially someone in power to take advantage of anybody."

In a memo provided by the Germantown School District, Rayburn was fired for kissing students on the forehead, disrespecting parents and students by yelling at them, touching students inappropriately, as well as bullying and threatening parents and students. 

Rayburn now has 30 days to request a public hearing, according to the school district.

If Rayburn chooses to appeal in that way, the school board will name an impartial hearing officer from a pre-approved list.

Rayburn is also under investigation by Germantown Police Department after a student said he assaulted her. 

Germantown Municipal School District said it encourages any and all students who have concerns of any natures about Rayburn or any other teachers to come forward.

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