ARVADA, Colo. – The teacher at the center of a firestorm of controversy at Faith Christian Academy in Arvada is speaking out nearly two weeks after allegations of a "racist culture" at the private school came to light.
In a statement shared exclusively with Denver7's Theresa Marchetta on Thursday, Gregg Tucker said his "opposition to racial discrimination have very much to do with" the school's decision to terminate his employment.
The statement followed a series of reports from parents, students and alumni which exposed concerns about racial indifferences at the school.
Tucker, who taught at the private Christian school in Arvada for 17 years, said there are "inaccuracies" in the way the superintendent at Faith Christian Academy, Andrew Hasz, explained his sudden departure from the school.
He said in an open letter to parents after he left that students came to him about racial tensions, which he researched for himself, later organizing a "Race and Faith" discussion during what the school refers to as a "chapel."
Tucker explained in the letter that he notified parents and faculty ahead of time who would be on the panel and that he had planned to facilitate the topic.
Some parents told Denver7 the conversation was needed, but others said there is no racism at the school and that Tucker had no right to start a discussion.
Superintendent Andrew Hasz agreed with them.
Hasz has declined to sit down for an on camera interview, calling Denver7's reports on concerns about racial problems "slanderous", "uniformed and untrue."
In a letter to parents sent on February 26 explaining Tucker's departure, Hasz stated that Tucker and school administration "mutually agreed" to part ways, and that the topic of racism "was not a factor in the decision," citing "on-going differences which have nothing to do with the topic of race or equality."
Tucker said that is not true.
In a statement he released Thursday, Tucker said that his firing "was not a mutual separation and I did not agree that the issue of race and equality had nothing to do with it. Mr. Hasz, in fact, explained to me that my opposition to racial discrimination had very much to do with their decision to terminate my employment."
Tucker added, "How the administration has handled the issue of racism... was and is a fundamental point of contention."
You can read his full statement below:
"In light of the statement that was sent out to the Faith Christian community by Superintendent Andrew Hasz on February 26th, as well as recent statements to the media, I feel like it is important to address some inaccuracies. Contrary to statements that have been reported, the termination of my employment was not a mutual separation and I did NOT agree that the issue of race and equality had nothing to do with it. Mr. Hasz, in fact, explained to me that my opposition to racial discrimination had very much to do with their decision to terminate my employment. How the administration has handled the issue of racism, which was the primary impetus for me facilitating the chapel in January, was and is the fundamental point of contention. I believe there is much work to do in this area in order to make Faith Christian Academy a more welcoming and safe place for minority students. I hope and pray they will commit to humbly seek forgiveness and reconciliation with the students, parents, and alumni that have been harmed, and urgently develop strategies to prevent it moving forward."
former FCA Teacher