JUST IN: J.I. Burton teacher/coach denied injunction, can’t coach football while investigation continues


ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL)- News Channel 11 was inside a courtroom Friday afternoon as JI Burton coach and teacher, James Adams, was denied an injunction.

James Adams filed an injunction in which he claims he was given no reason for his suspension other than the fact that complaints had been made, more complaints were expected, and an outside investigator was hired.


Adams is the embattled J.I. Burton High School teacher and coach. Court documents revealed he has been investigated in recent years on misconduct allegations.

SEE ALSO: Court documents: Embattled J.I. Burton teacher has been subject of “multiple investigations for misconduct”

In court Friday afternoon, Adams’ attorney argued the Norton City School Board violated a Code of Virginia statute involving suspension for teachers and other public school employees.

According to this argument, the school board failed to provide substantive proof that Adams’ role as coach threatened the safety of students. They also said Adams was not being told specific details of the allegations that caused him to be removed from his coaching position.

PREVIOUS STORY: Norton, Va. coach, teacher accused of sexual harassment and assault

Adams’ lawyers said the current football season “would not wait until the end of the investigation.” By restricting him from coaching, the school board was causing Adams “irreparable harm.”

Photo: WJHL

SEE ALSO: Court Documents: J.I. Burton H.S. coach wants suspension lifted following allegations of sexual harassment

After Adams’ attorney spoke, the defense attorney for the Norton City School Board argued that there was no right to perform football coaching duties written in Adams’ teaching contract.

The defense also said the school board was not obligated to provide proof that sexual harassment occurred before removing Adams as a coach, and were within reason to take this action despite the investigation still being ongoing.

“We’re talking about multiple complaints with two police investigations on local and state levels,” the school board’s attorney argued.

Norton City Schools superintendent Dr. Gina Wohlford was present in court to represent the board on Friday.

After deliberation, the district judge delivered the verdict that Adams’ side failed to meet the requirements for an injunction.

“I simply do not believe Mr. Adams suffered irreparable harm within the meaning of the law,” the judge said.

The judge also affirmed that definite proof of sexual misconduct was not required by the school board to suspend Adams.

After court was dismissed, Richard Kennedy, attorney for Adams, spoke with News Channel 11.

“The school board’s investigation will go forth, obviously. Unfortunately, there’s no time limit on that, so we don’t know when that would be completed. We’re fully confident that Mr. Adams will be vindicated at the end of that investigation. I think the sad part for him is that that investigation may be completed, and vindication may occur after the football season has ended.”

Representation for the Norton City School Board was unavailable for comment after the court was dismissed.


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