Denver faculty board Vice President Auon’tai Anderson has obtained a restraining order and filed a prison criticism in opposition to vocal district critic Brandon Pryor, who not too long ago gained a court docket victory overturning Denver Public Colleges’ efforts to bar him from district property.
Each males agree they’d an argument Friday morning about Anderson’s December vote to maneuver the college Pryor based, Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy, from its present location to a former elementary faculty miles away from the Far Northeast group it serves. However their accounts of what occurred differ.
In an affidavit filed with Denver County Court docket and in an interview with Chalkbeat, Anderson stated Pryor swore at him, used abusive language, and threatened him in his place of employment. Pryor stated he works in the identical constructing and stops by usually. He stated the affidavit is a lie, that he by no means threatened anybody, and that Anderson swore at him first.
Anderson additionally filed a municipal prison criticism in opposition to Pryor on Monday. A Denver Police Division spokesman declined to launch a police report on the incident, citing an open investigation.
The restraining order issued Tuesday is momentary, in keeping with Denver County Court docket. A listening to is ready for Feb. 7 to find out whether or not it will likely be prolonged.
The restraining order requires Pryor to remain 10 yards away from Anderson at public boards and in any other case keep 100 yards away from Anderson. Pryor will not be allowed to contact Anderson whereas the order is in place.
Pryor attended Tuesday’s faculty board assembly along with his spouse and several other Robert F. Smith STEAM dad and mom and college students who all spoke in opposition to transferring the college.
The rostrum was set farther again from the board dais than standard, roughly aligning with the sixth row of viewers seating reasonably than the primary row. District spokesman Scott Pribble stated it was to adjust to the restraining order whereas nonetheless permitting Pryor to take part within the assembly.
In an affidavit to help the restraining order, Anderson stated Pryor swore at him, used racial slurs, and instructed Anderson to “meet him exterior” and that “he would ‘look ahead to me exterior.’”
“The clear import of his statements and actions was that I felt bodily threatened, unsafe, and believed Mr. Pryor would bodily hurt me,” the affidavit reads.
Anderson stated he agrees with the county court docket choose’s resolution to not bar Pryor from board conferences and that he opposed the earlier district ban that Pryor is difficult in federal court docket.
Anderson stated he sought the restraining order reluctantly and solely as a result of he perceived Pryor to be escalating their disagreements.
“I’m an unpaid elected official,” Anderson stated. “I like serving on the Denver faculty board. I mustn’t worry coming to my personal place of employment due to a vote I took on the college board.”
Pryor stated the affidavit is “fully false and crammed with lies.”
“I work in the identical constructing, proper down the corridor,” he stated, including that he visited Anderson’s place of employment, the Wrestle of Love Basis, two or 3 times per week.
Pryor stated Anderson responded angrily when Pryor wished to speak to him in regards to the faculty transfer, particularly the declare that Smith STEAM Academy’s principal helps it. Pryor stated faculty households are divided and a few are offended on the principal as a result of they blame her for the pending transfer.
“As a result of he didn’t have a sound reply for me, he received defensive, and now he’s the sufferer,” Pryor stated.
Pryor stated he swore at Anderson after Anderson swore at him however he didn’t use the language that Anderson accuses him of utilizing. He stated he didn’t ask Anderson to fulfill him exterior.
“I didn’t threaten anybody,” Pryor stated. “All of us fall quick within the warmth of the second, cussing and stuff. I used to be responding to him. I really feel like he fell quick. He’s an elected official and he ought to be attentive to his constituents.”
Pryor and Anderson had been as soon as political allies, and every expressed disappointment and disappointment in regards to the scenario. Anderson stated he thought of Pryor “an enormous brother or a mentor,” and Pryor stated he defended Anderson from costs that he was too younger to serve on the board and once more when he was accused of sexual misconduct. An impartial investigation discovered no foundation for essentially the most critical allegations in opposition to Anderson.
Pryor, a mum or dad, group activist, and soccer coach, offered the preliminary imaginative and prescient for Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy, a highschool modeled on traditionally Black schools and universities. Earlier than the college opened in 2021, the district promised to seek out it a everlasting dwelling, however at Tuesday’s assembly, Pryor, together with dad and mom and college students, stated the Barrett Elementary web site was not acceptable.
Within the Sixties, Barrett was used as a part of a plan to maintain Black kids from attending predominantly white faculties within the Park Hill neighborhood, a plan that in the end led to the Keyes faculty desegregation case. Dad and mom and college students cited that historical past, together with the scale of the constructing, its location 9 miles from the Far Northeast in a largely gentrified neighborhood, and the dearth of a transparent transportation plan to say Barrett was not the best dwelling for his or her faculty.
In mid-October, the district served Pryor with an eight-page letter banning him from district property, besides the colleges his sons attend. The district additionally barred him from volunteering as a soccer coach and from talking throughout the public remark portion of college board conferences.
District officers stated the choice was made primarily based on “a protracted sample of conduct towards district employees,” together with yelling and cursing at folks in particular person, over the telephone, and in digital conferences.
However a federal choose stated the ban was not warranted.
Pryor had sued Denver Public Colleges, alleging the district violated his First Modification rights, and the choose ordered the ban lifted earlier than that case even goes to trial. The district is interesting the choice.
Bureau Chief Erica Meltzer covers schooling coverage and politics and oversees Chalkbeat Colorado’s schooling protection. Contact Erica at email@example.com.