It isn’t Denver Public Schools board director Tay Anderson’s arrogance in dismissing his predatory behavior that warrants his dismissal, it’s the perilous “flirting” with students in itself that disqualifies him from public office.
Anderson, in his second year of a four-year term on the school board, “flirted” with high-school students not only while campaigning for his current post, but, again, just this year, according to a lengthy and comprehensive investigation at the behest of the school district.
The revelations came after 5280 Black Lives Matter alleged that an unnamed woman claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Anderson. Anderson has repeatedly denied the allegations. Outside investigators said that allegation was unsubstantiated, and that the alleged victim would not cooperate with investigators.
Anderson wielded that news last week as a vindication of a long and sordid history of behavior that easily would have gotten him fired as an employee of the school district, working with children.
He has painted himself as the victim of a conspiracy to oust him for his often flamboyant and sometimes controversial activist stunts. He fancies himself a provocateur for issues surrounding racism, police brutality and police reform.
It’s a tried-and-true political distraction from the fact that Anderson has repeatedly contacted, texted and made teasing remarks that cannot be construed as anything but sexual or romantic overtures to teenage children, students in public schools.
While Anderson may find his backpedaling, justification and minimization meaningful in his personal relationships, the rationalizations for his serious abuse of juvenile girls is nothing but an additional offense.
That Anderson is unable to understand the gravity and danger of his behavior only underscores how unqualified he is to work with children or speak on their behalf.
Anderson’s age, race and politics are not at issue, as he and his misguided supporters insist. Anderson’s dangerous textual relations with students, girls, are anathema to the critical role of educators and public leaders.
The public must be able to trust every part of public schools with their children, even and especially those who set a course and an example for every employee in the district. No parent could nor should ever trust Anderson. And without that trust, and no possible way to rebuild it, Anderson is nothing but an unwelcome distraction at the helm of a struggling school district.
If Anderson is honest in his promise that the welfare and academic success of DPS students is his sole quest as a member of the school board, he would immediately resign, realizing he is a dire threat to his own goal. He cannot lead. He cannot even meaningfully participate in decisions with a school board that has rightfully, unanimously censured him for his treacherous behavior.
Rather than suffer more of Anderson’s desperate distraction and damage for two years, Denver voters should recall him, making clear to him and others that the community will not tolerate adult leaders who “flirt” with the children they are elected to protect and serve.