Photos and video submitted by Michelle Castro
My first experience with Tay Anderson was on March 18, 2021 when I participated in sharing my thoughts at public comment with the Denver Public School board. I spoke about my concern as a DPS parent that the Black Lives Matter 13 principles were being presented to my 4th grader without my permission or knowledge. I shared that the “organization” is political, bias and does not align with my family values. I went on to say the school does not have my permission to mold my child’s values, morals or principles. I went through all the proper channels of my concern and then was advised to speak at public comment to share my concern with the school board. During my virtual speech Tay Anderson and the president (Carrie Olson) of the School board turned on their cameras to show how they were disappointed in what I was saying. This made me feel very confused and intimidated.
Once I finished my speech, I told my husband about my experience and he then looked up the name of Tay Anderson to find a picture of me along with his look of disappointment posted in his DPS Facebook page calling me a bigot. I immediately emailed the school board demanding it be taken down, to receive a reply by Tay Anderson telling me he will be sure to push Black Lives Matters in the schools because of my comment. Before this encounter, I didn’t know who was on our school board or anything about Tay Anderson. Since then, I have approached the board on many occasions to continue to share my concerns with DPS and concerns about Tay Anderson. Due to him and my concerns I now homeschool my two children.
On Friday, September 17,2021 I attended a protest with 4 other parents to demand Tay Anderson resign. Tay Anderson had a press conference scheduled at 12:15 before his meeting with the school board where they decided to censure him. My response to the censure was disappointment as it seemed like empty words from all the board members who were clearly not in unison about Tay Anderson resigning. They continued to put Tay Anderson's feelings before the community they serve. Their words hold no water because there is no action behind it. I then quoted what I told the board to Jimmy Sengenberger (Host of The Jimmy Sengenberger Show on KNUS Radio) saying, “every action you take and don’t take is sending a message to this community.” I then said something like, “they continue to send the message that the students, parents and the community are less important than Tay Anderson.” (His show is pre-recorded, so I spoke with him on the 17th and it aired on the 18th) It is a slap in the face for the board to decide “now” it is time to hold each other to a higher standard when parents have been asking for this for a long time now.
On 9/20/21, I attended the walk out scheduled at North High School because this is my home school and would be where my children go for high school in the future if they stayed in DPS. I was impressed and moved at the young students who were boldly speaking out against the board who has made them feel ignored “again.” The first time was in June when a young graduate of North High held a protest to get Tay Anderson's name off the diplomas of the recent graduates, this was also after he was accused of hurting 60+ undocumented students from North High. They also boldly stated they wanted Tay Anderson to resign. They chanted “hay hay ho ho Tay Anderson you must go” along with other chants. They then walked downtown to meet up with other students from other schools. I did not attend that part of the walk out. But once I saw the footage, I was again moved and impressed at the courage every student demonstrated. I wish only that every parent of those students would have also stood with me on the day of his censure.