DENVER (KDVR) — Outgoing board members for Denver Public Schools held their final meeting Thursday night, and there was some serious tension.
It was a chance to put a bookend on their time governing the largest school district in Colorado, but it was not without controversy.
This was a meeting attended by friends or family of the outgoing board members, but a group of parents who voted them out, couldn’t get into the main room.
“Every two years, we do a celebration to honor those who are leaving,” said Auon’tai Anderson, outgoing Board of Education member at large.
He and other outgoing board members were met by family and friends.
“We were planning on sitting very peacefully in the back for the last board meeting of this board, and we were barred from coming in,” DPS parent Heather Lamm said.
Board members also were met by Lamm and a group of disgruntled parents. Lamm and the group she is with called on several board members to resign their positions last term before several were voted out earlier this month.
“We had to pre-submit lists and names of folks that were going to come and join us in celebrating,” Anderson said.
It was for that reason some folks were not allowed inside the board chambers during the meeting.
Lamm and her group said they only had the most noble intentions attending the board meeting.
“We were going to listen,” Lamm said. “We want to be informed citizens, we want to be present, and we were going to sit here and listen wearing our T-shirts that express our frustration with this overall board.”
“Instead, they chose to engage in berating our staff and calling the supporters of those who are walking, who happened to be Black women, cronies,” Anderson said.
There were some reported exchanges in the lobby of DPS headquarters and several armed officers as well.
“We came down to exercise what is our right as parents to participate in the board of directors meetings, and we were not allowed in,” Lamm said.
Anderson said the group was offered seats in the overflow, which they declined. FOX31 saw open seats in the main hall.
“This is an institution where we welcome diverging opinions, but we told them, just as we did with other individuals, that they had to go upstairs, wait, and if there were seats that opened up, we’ll let you down. We did that,” Anderson said.
It was one last board meeting for Anderson and other members to offer parting words. Meanwhile, one group of parents had parting words of their own.
“Goodbye, and good riddance,” Lamm said.
The newest board members will be sworn in on Nov. 28.