DENVER – Denver Public Schools board member Tay Anderson will be censured by the district’s Board of Education on Friday, the 23-year-old confirmed via Twitter early Thursday night.
“I have official confirmation, I will be censured tomorrow by the School Board,” Anderson tweeted just after 6 p.m. Thursday.
Anderson said he’ll speak prior to the board of education meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
“I will stand with members of the @NAACP, Denver Ministerial Alliance and more to address the censure vote,” he said in the tweet.
He is scheduled to speak at 12:15 p.m.
The news come a day after an independent report into sexual misconduct allegations levied against him found that even though the most serious accusations were not substantiated, Anderson had “flirtatious social media contact” with a 16-year-old Denver Public Schools (DPS) student while he was a board member and made coercive and intimidating social media posts toward witnesses.
“The Board strongly believes the investigation treated Director Anderson fairly. The most grievous accusations were not substantiated and the Board is grateful for that. However, the report reveals behavior unbecoming of a board member. As elected officials, we must hold ourselves and each other to the highest standards in carrying out the best interests of the District,” the board said in a statement provided by DPS spokesperson Will Jones on Wednesday.
From his part – and prior to Thursday’s tweet – Anderson said in a statement that he would discuss the report in a press conference in the coming days and once he further reviewed the report.
The investigators interviewed 63 people as part of the investigation, the report says, and Anderson met with investigators twice and “answered every question we posed” both in-person and in writing, according to the report.
“Director Anderson did not refuse to answer any question. He likewise responded to every request for information that we made. He was cooperative in this process,” the report states.
The investigators wrote that their report does not express an opinion about the truthfulness of allegations.
Anderson stepped away from his role in June after anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct arose against him in the spring. He returned to his duties in mid-July and had always claimed that the allegations were false. In March, the group Black Lives Matter 5280 said a woman claimed in February that Anderson sexually assaulted her, which Anderson denied.
In May, a woman testified before a legislative committee about a sexual predator within the school system who has targeted students, though the school board said at the time no one had reported such allegations to police. Anderson denied the allegations against him throughout the past several months.
The report found that Anderson had been talking on social media with a young woman in high school while he was a board candidate, and another while he was on the board, though only the former spoke to investigators.
The girl who spoke with investigators said they started talking in 2018 when she was 17 and a senior at a school in Douglas County. She told investigators he would ask her to go on dates but that she never hung out with him in private. She said she was thankful for that because he made her “feel extremely uncomfortable and scared to go places in the case I would see him.”
The investigators found Anderson had acknowledged he was flirting with her, but he told them he believed she was a high school graduate.
The investigation also uncovered more flirtatious messages from August 2020 between Anderson and a DPS student who was 16 at the time, which Anderson told investigators was “a mistake.”
Later on, according to the report, he found out the girl’s age and stopped communicating with the student.
The “coercive and intimidating social media post” accusations relate to Anderson switching his Facebook cover photo with a picture of Bugs Bunny, with a gun held against his chest, which is captioned with, “Do it bitch.” The report says he put that photo up one day after the allegations were made at the legislative hearing. Two people reported that they felt the post was “meant to intimidate women who might come forward in response to the testimony,” according to the report.
But Anderson told investigators it “had no sort of innuendo about target taunting or targeting, you know, anybody on social media.”
Further, at least one school board member reported to the investigators that a July 7 post in which Anderson talked about a “warning” to people who have been “disparaging my name” was a threat Anderson would “engage in punishing behavior” against those who have spoken out about the allegations.
However, the report goes on to state there is “no evidence of sexual contact between candidate/Director Anderson and students he was messaging with” and “no evidence that Director Anderson directed social media activities of others.”
Regarding the accusations levied at the legislative hearing, the report says that the allegations were “objectively implausible on their face.”
The investigators found in their conclusion that “most of the reported behaviors do not implicate integrity, high ethical standards, respectful conduct and a commitment to support the United States and Colorado constitutions.”
Censuring Anderson would not mean the school board would remove him from his post – that’s not something they can do as school board members are elected by voters, not by their colleagues. Rather, voting to censure a fellow school board member would only lead to a reprimand or condemnation for failing to abide by the bylaws, rules and codes of conduct of the school board.