AURORA | A Cherry Creek teacher is back in the classroom after being placed on more than a month of administrative leave following complaints from parents about how she taught her social justice class.
Asia Lyons, a sixth-grade teacher at Sky Vista Middle School, was allowed to go back to work on Nov. 30 after being placed on administrative leave Oct. 6. According to the Cherry Creek School District, Lyons received no disciplinary action after an investigation.
Lyons was placed on administrative leave after a group of parents complained to Cherry Creek administration about her social justice class and a guest speaker that came to the class named Dezy Saint-Nolde, also known as Queen Phoenix. Saint-Nolde, a prominent social justice activist in Denver. Saint-Nolde is facing felony and misdemeanor drug charges in Denver but skipped her first court date in October.
While Lyons didn’t face any disciplinary actions from CCSD, she and another teacher received instruction to ensure any future guest speakers coming into their classes receive prior approval by the school administrators.
“We worked with staff at the school to ensure they know and follow policies around getting approval for speakers and for communicating with parents about controversial subject matter,” said CCSD spokeswoman Abbe Smith.
Lyons removal from the classroom came after parents sent in letters to the school’s administration. In seven letters written by three parents to school officials, obtained through a Colorado Open Records Act request, parents expressed their anger at both the subject matter being taught to the sixth grade class, and what they said was Lyon’s political agenda behind it. Topics they said should not have been taught or should have involved counseling or other experts include sexual identity and sexual assault. Parents also complained about language used in videos presented to the class. Parents said Lyons’ social media posts, were critical of the parents reaction to the class.
Parents said they were upset that they were not consulted about the topics that would be presented to their children in class. Numerous parents who made original complaints did not respond to requests for comment.
“Our focus continues to be ensuring students are taught curriculum that is aligned to standards, is age appropriate and fosters critical thinking skills. We are also committed to ensuring we communicate with parents about what students are learning,” Smith said.