Aurora parents upset after activist speaks at school; teacher placed on leave

AURORA, Colo. -- Parents of Sky Vista Middle School students are mad after a self-described "peace activist" facing drug-related charges was allowed to speak to a group of sixth-graders at the Cherry Creek school.

Asia Lyons, the teacher who invited "Queen Phoenix" to speak on the subject of social justice to her class, was put on administrative leave. 

Upset parents filled the room during a school board meeting with questions as to why the activist was invited to speak at Sky Vista Middle School.

“We are requesting to not only put a parental control on Ms. Lyons but take her TV away and not have her teach our children in the Cherry Creek School District,” said a concerned Sky Vista parent during Monday's meeting.

Queen Phoenix, whose real name is not known, describes herself as a "peace activist" and community organizer. She talked to sixth graders last month during a class called extended core taught by Lyons. 

The class is meant to engage students in real-world learning. Parents at Monday's board meeting say they were never notified of the guest speaker. 

“My daughter was forced to listen to a speaker,” said another parent. 

Queen Phoenix publicly raised funds for a defense lawyer as she faces what she describes as "exaggerated marijuana charges."

The school has since placed the teacher on administrative leave while the district conducts "an investigation into a possible policy violation related to instructional materials." 

The district also tells us Denver 7’s Sally Mamdooh there is not a policy in place that prevents speakers with criminal records, except sex offenders, from being in a classroom.

“We feel like the district and school have let the families down,” said one parent. 

But not everyone was against the teacher's choice. Some teachers came to Lyons’ defense. 

“As a teacher of color in this district, it's important that we support each other especially if we are one of only in our buildings,” said a Cherry Creek School District teacher. 

A former student of the teacher in question also came to her defense. 

“I was a student of Ms. Lyons, and I believe she is a perfect person to be teaching this to your children. She is helping prepare your children to the real world,” the former student said. 

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