In this week's cover story, we write about the fascinating case of the banished San Francisco music teacher, Terry Braye, who built a guitar rock program at Visitacion Valley Middle School from scratch. Last May, he was ousted from his job following allegations that he'd had inappropriate contact with former female students.
Braye pleaded no contest to two nonsexual misdemeanors in San Francisco Superior Court earlier this year, but maintains that he didn't do anything wrong. (No overt sexual acts were alleged by the district attorney; instead girls accused him of being "pervy" and "creepy.")
As part of the terms of his five years of probation, Braye can't contact students or go on school district property.
Yet he still can keep a YouTube channel of student performances. Here's the video of where Braye leads the kids in the Rolling Stones' "As Tears Go By" in the rotunda of City Hall -- one of the band's many public performances.
Below is footage of one of Braye's former students singing "America the Beautiful" at the school board meeting, which Braye says he staged to help get the student into the city arts charter school. (He says it worked.) Braye seems more nervous for the unofficial audition than the student as he nervously shifts his weight in the background at the 1:07 mark.
After the student sings, district officials give Braye's program rave reviews. At the 4:24 mark, Visitacion Valley's principal James Dierke says, "Our band director Mr. Terry Braye has over one-third of our school enrolled in the music program, and it's really wonderful to see."
At the 5:04 mark, Superintendent Carlos Garcia says, "If you haven't had a chance to go to Visitacion Valley and see the music program that this outstanding teacher has put together -- for us old guys it's great to go there, because where else can you hear about anywhere from 100 to 200 electric guitars and classical guitars strumming songs like 'Stairway to Heaven?' ... It's so great to hear surfing music and all these really old-type music -- to see an entire school performing like that is really a treat."
Such comments likely make the officials grimace now.