Tuesday, July 23, 2024

NHCS attorney Wayne Bullard resigns, citing ‘outrageous attacks’ against him, denies wrongdoing [Free read]

NHCS attorney Wayne Bullard. (Port City Daily photo / File)

WILMINGTON — Wayne Bullard, the attorney for the New Hanover County Schools district and Board of Education, announced his resignation today, citing “extreme harassment” by “several members of the public.”

The announcement comes on the heels of an article published on Monday, detailing Bullard’s recent filming of ‘call to the audience’ speakers during a Board of Education meeting. According to New Hanover County Schools (NHCS) Chief Communication Officer Ann Gibson, who responded on behalf of the Board of Education, “[i]t is not policy or practice for videotaping or photography to occur from the board table at any time.”

Bullard himself did not respond to questions about his filming, but several speakers — as well as Board member Judy Justice — stated they believed Bullard’s intent was to attempt to intimidate public speakers.

Related: New Hanover school board’s attorney is filming ‘call to the audience’ speakers. Is it intimidation? [Free read] 

In a public statement, Bullard denied any attempt at intimidation, defending his actions, and accusing public figures of making false and defamatory statements.

You can find Bullard’s complete statement below:

For about the past year, I have been subjected to what, in my opinion, is extreme harassment and attempts at intimidation by several members of the public, two in particular.

Between them, they have made numerous false and defamatory statements about me, distributed them to my employer as well as other state and local officials, filed a complaint against me with the NC State Bar, reported me to the Sheriff’s Department, or reported me to the State Bureau of Investigation. I have done nothing to deserve those outrageous attacks. I have simply been doing my job.

At the School Board Meeting on March 3rd, I video recorded their public statements concerning me with my personal cell phone in an open and transparent manner.

School Board meetings are open to the public and speakers are video recorded routinely by the School Board itself, as well as reporters and members of the audience. What I did was perfectly legal.

I recorded the two speakers who were attacking me so I could document any abusive conduct and to ensure that I had a personal copy of what they said. I did not intimidate anyone. To suggest otherwise is absurd.

There was no policy, procedure, or practice of the School Board that prohibited me from recording the verbal attacks against me in a public meeting that was already being recorded by the Board and others.

I have the right to defend myself from false personal attacks. However, it seems that some members of the School Board may not be fully supportive of my efforts to defend myself. I choose not to continue to work in that environment. I am resigning as General Counsel to the School Board effective Tuesday, March 17th, 2020.

I wish the students and the hard-working teachers, administrators, and other staff of the New Hanover County Schools well.

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