Germantown Supt. speaks publicly for first time since suspending teacher

Superintendent responds to former principal's resignation
Published: Apr. 27, 2018 at 7:23 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2018 at 6:28 AM CDT
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GERMANTOWN, TN (WMC) - The superintendent for Germantown Municipal School District made his first public statement since suspending a teacher and having his high school principal resign.

Both staff members were prominent figures at Houston High School.

Superintendent Jason Manuel spoke first about the suspension of Choir Director William Rayburn, who is being investigated for kissing and touching students inappropriately.

Manuel said he wanted to reassure parents that there is a rigorous process in place for this sort of investigation. He said the school district immediately notified Department of Children Services and Germantown Police Department when it received reports of misconduct.

He went on to say the school then launched its own Human Resources investigation into Rayburn.

"Our counselors have been out to the classrooms to talk to the students--to talk if they have concerns or questions that they can talk to their teachers or counselors at school," Manuel said.

The investigation into Rayburn is ongoing, so Manuel was unable to give any details about the situation at this time.

However, he promised he would release details about the investigation as soon as possible.

"It will be an open and public process," Manuel said about the investigation's results.

He said the school district sent a letter to parents on April 26 about the suspension--which happened April 11. Manuel said another letter would likely come from his office by Tuesday.

"We always place students' safety first in our district," Manuel said. "We will always investigate allegations of misconduct."

Manuel then spoke about the resignation of Principal Kyle Cherry.

He said Cherry was struggling with the stress of the position, mirroring the initial reason Cherry gave for his resignation.

Cherry resigned as principal April 20. It came eight months after an internal school district investigation and a police investigation into an incident at the house of one of his teachers.

Cherry was issued a warning from Manuel for that incident, but he did not face any criminal charges.

Cherry received $24,715 upon his resignation. Manuel explained that a severance, like the one Cherry received, is part of the school district's policy for any employee in a leadership role.

"Our legal counsel has now recommended that we get a separation package or agreement really to protect the district from future litigation or concerns," Manuel said.

When asked if the district feared Cherry would sue the school district--despite the fact that he was the one who chose to resign--Manuel said he did not expect any legal action from Cherry. Manuel then emphasized that the severance package is standard policy created at the advice of legal council.

Meanwhile, Rayburn remains an employee of the school district. He is currently suspended without pay. The investigation into Rayburn remains open and active.

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