Rick Smith steps down in wake of Ooltewah High rape case

"You're the leader of the whole situation, and you have to take the fire, and I think it's an honorable thing."

The Hamilton County Board of Education voted Thursday night to buy out Superintendent Rick Smith's contract.

The decision came at Smith's request in the wake of public criticism regarding his handling of the alleged rape of an Ooltewah High School basketball player by his teammates in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Smith spoke publicly for less than a minute Thursday, saying he made the decision to step down from the district's top position without pressure from the board.

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