EDITORIAL: Stop justifying Tay Anderson’s abuse of students and force him off the Denver school board

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Tay Anderson, Denver School Board at large director, uses a bullhorn to speak during a protest outside the State Capitol over the death of George Floyd. Anderson has been censured by fellow school board members for his inappropriate texting with students. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

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. 

 

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Joe Felice
Joe Felice
1 month ago

Anderson is not an employee and cannot be fired. He is a member of an elected board. His resignation may be requested, but only the voters can remove him from the Board via a recall. Do they perceive that his actions warrant this, or could the Board just ride it out until the next election? That’s what we did wisely in Aurora under similar circumstances.

One thing is for sure: The media will make this a divisive issue and more sensational than it is. There’s got to be more to this than the public is being told. If not, we need to control our righteous indignation.

FeelingsAreNotFacts
FeelingsAreNotFacts
1 month ago

tl;dr “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.”

TruthB
TruthB
1 month ago

This cherry picking without reading is what systematic racism looks like.

john in denver
john in denver
1 month ago

Anderson has been investigated, reported, and censured. He no doubt has undercut his position with others on the Board. He will be closely watched and likely be made uncomfortable in attending activities with students. Any harm he could do is limited.

So the question is whether Anderson is enough of a symbol to expend effort to recall. How many signatures to gather? How much in donations to campaign? How much to run an election?

I am also interested in whether there is any consequence for the person with outlandish story of 62 students complaining about Anderson’s behavior. Doesn’t her action diminish the seriousness of sexual abuse?

Common Sense
Common Sense
1 month ago

If the board is willing to call a meeting to order with Tay present, they should all resign or be recalled. There is ZERO excuses for not forcing Tay to resign. What would Tay do? Take a page from his playbook and stand for something DPS Directors!

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
1 month ago
Reply to  Common Sense

The board cannot force a member to resign. Elected members must be removed by a vote of the public.

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
1 month ago

Recalls are very expensive and distracting in a crisis, which DPS has a crisis right now dealing with back-to-school and Covid, heading into winter when it may get even worse, and death threats against the Board by parents who totally disrupt their meetings. The CA Recall cost taxpayers $287 Million when Newsom would be up for re-election in a year – how irresponsible and stupid of those behind the recall. The Board can ask for Anderson’s resignation, and exert pressure. I do not support a recall though.

saul
saul
1 month ago

this is classic political character assassination of an activist

butthurt anti-BLM Karens smeared him as a rapist with 60 accusers and even now that was debunked they drudge up some “mean tweets” and “flirting messages” with no specific examples of what exactly we’re supposed to be outraged about because the “60 accusers” is enough to tarnish his reputation regardless of whether he did anything or not

Jennifer Churchfield
Jennifer Churchfield
1 month ago

As past BOE member in a neighboring school district, Tay Anderson is a disgrace, distraction and disruption to the DPS community and its students. He should resign so the district does not incur the expense of a recall. This is not about race or age – it’s about character and the lack of!