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Ousted motorsports teacher sues trustees Board

SoVaNow.com / June 12, 2014


A motorsports teacher at Halifax County Middle School, William C. “Buddy” Wilborn, filed suit on Monday against the Halifax County School Board, alleging that he had been recommended for firing “for insubordination and unprofessionalism.”

Following the announcement of the recommendation, Wilborn requested a hearing. The hearing was held on May 13 with former school superintendent Dennis Witt serving as the hearing officer. Witt conducted the hearing at 9 a.m. in the school board conference room with others present, including Duane Thomas, Virginia Education Association representative, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Merle Herndon, assistant superintendent Valdivia Marshall, middle school principal Faye Bruce, and middle school assistant principal Gwendolyn Smith-Mangum.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Witt summarized the issue, writing, “the crux of the matter lies in the observance of poor classroom practices and the uncooperating actions of the teacher. There were extended informal conversations between the teacher and administration, but specific dates for a meeting could not be confirmed. There is evidence that Mr. Wilborn delayed confirmation for a plan-of-improvement meeting. This exasperated the administration, and eventually led to a recommendation for termination.

“The hearing officer cannot ascertain all the true motivations and actions of the parties involved, but can only rely on the data presented. Taken in total, the school administration was attempting, unsuccessfully, to implement a plan of improvement for Mr. Wilborn. The school board hires administration to ensure a high level of competency by teachers in the classroom. Differences in perspective may be noted but, barring any unconstitutional actions and as per the school laws in Virginia, the school administration should prevail in matters of evaluation, assignment, and termination. “Having noted no material or underlying wrongs on the part of the administration, it is the recommendation of the hearing officer that the Halifax County School Board uphold the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools in regards to the termination of Mr. William. C. Wilborn, Sr.,” the suit states.

Wilborn’s suit alleges that the Code of Virginia does not provide a sufficient framework to guarantee his due process rights as a tenured teacher facing termination. Furthermore, it alleges that he was denied the right to directly cross examine the witnesses who testified against him.

Also the suit alleges that the hearing officer does not reside outside the school division as called for in the state code. The hearing officer was not impartial, the suit alleges, as evidenced by the officer’s ruling under the laws of Virginia, which state “the school board should prevail in matters of evaluation, assignment, and termination; and that Wilborn should be terminated because the hearing officer noted no material or underlying wrongs on the part of the administration.

Wilborn asks that the court reinstate his contract and continue his employment until he is terminated by proper procedure and award him his back pay, plus the costs of this suit.

Trustees have 21 days to file an answer to Wilborn’s suit.





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Comments

Give me a break! How long is this school board going to allow this woman to break down on our school system, employees and community. First the LORP then principals now employees suing the school system. What will it take for the board to wake up and smell the coffee or the incompetence of this woman. Treat people correctly and fair with some dignity and you won't have all this mess.

Comments

"Wilborn asks that the court reinstate his contract and continue his employment until he is terminated by proper procedure and award him his back pay, plus the costs of this suit."

So he is admitting he should be fired, but was fired improperly? Now he wants to be reinstated, then fired again properly just so he can get paid from the old firing date to the new one?

What a waste of tax payer money!!

Comments

The quickest way out of a hole is to stop digging, yet it just keeps getting deeper and deeper...

Seems a little "cozy" that a retired HCPS superintendent was chosen to arbitrate this hearing. Such an individual would have a vested interest in upholding the current supe's decision.

These folks need to realise that during their tenure they can build all the monuments to themselves they want, but the next Swinging Richard that comes along is gonna knock 'em down and build their own.

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Remember when we had appointed school boards? I'm not suggesting that those were the good ol' days, but compared to today's board of status-seekers and coat-tail riders, we're missing out. Elections matter and two areas of Halifax County allowed two incumbents back in the board room. Get used to watching the house burn.

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What's with all this sudden spamanation?

I'm starting to wonder about the office of School Superintendent. Newsome in Danville is spending money and adding high-paid positions like no tomorrow (and NAACP up there is threatening retribution if he's held accountable, wtf?), McDaniel in Pittsylvania is telling PCSB members they can't visit schools and talk with teachers, the guy in Granville Co NC is under fire for making financial decisions without informing anyone... and we have a megalomaniac.

I've read lately that a lot of CEO types are sociopathic. I think these four are hard proof.


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