Fired choir director says school board ignored 12 pages of evidence

GERMANTOWN, TN (WMC) - The Germantown choir director fired for inappropriate conduct said the school board ignored his 12-page response to the allegations.

William Rayburn was a tenured teacher at Houston High School until May 14. On that day, the Germantown Municipal School District's Board of Education unanimously voted to fire Rayburn.

The firing came after allegations that Rayburn inappropriately touched and kissed students.

Rayburn's attorney, Michael Gaines, said the accusations are not true. He called the investigation into Rayburn and his subsequent firing a "witch hunt" launched by an administrator with an ax to grind against Rayburn.

He said the school board met for five minutes and voted without hearing evidence on anything other than the accusations against Rayburn.

In his rebuttal of the accusations against him, Rayburn does admit to kissing students. However, he said the kisses were on the forehead and "always in a public setting and never alone. It was usually in the context of a celebratory or consolatory action."

Rayburn also denies inappropriately touching students. He said he has hugged students in the past, but those hugs were never inappropriate in nature.

Gaines said there was one instance of inappropriate touching that Rayburn was responsible for during his employment, but it was a complete misunderstanding that Rayburn vehemently apologized for.

Rayburn described the incident in the lengthy document he says he sent to school board members. According to the letter, in September 2017 the school was putting on a performance of 'Joseph's Coat,' but there were not enough males to fill the roles, which Rayburn said led some female students to wear men's clothes and beards. Rayburn said he mistook one of the students in that role as "one of my male performers and gave a congratulatory slap on the rear end. When I realized it was [name redacted], I was mortified and apologized profusely, which she accepted and the incident was never again mentioned until these charges."

In his rebuttal letter, Rayburn also names witnesses to the rear end slap. He says the school board never talked to any of the people who witnessed what happened.

Rayburn also said many of the parents who complained about him were upset because their children were not given solos in the choir's performances.

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