GOLDEN – Jefferson County school board members have again voted to censure fellow board member Laura Boggs, this time for remarks she made during a radio interview in which she agreed Superintendent Cindy Stevenson “should be shot.”
The five-member board voted 4-0 in favor of censure – under board procedures, Boggs is not allowed to vote on the motion – after more than an hour of public comment from more than 20 speakers arguing for and against the action.
Several supporters of Boggs, the board’s lone conservative, said the censure was more about Boggs’ politics and her open opposition to the district’s proposed tax increases than a comment made on a conservative talk show.
“Thank you Laura Boggs for representing me,” said Robert Sander of Lakewood. “When you get censured … please wear it as a scarlet letter.”
But most of the standing-room-only crowd who filled the board’s meeting room seemed in favor of censure, and a number called on Boggs to resign.
When Jim Ellis, principal of Ralston Valley High School, asked audience members who supported the censure to stand, more than a hundred educators, parents and community members rose to their feet.
“We are sickened, saddened, shocked and frankly disgusted” by Boggs’ actions, Ellis said, adding that Boggs’ “disruptions” make Jeffco educators’ work harder.
Ellis and others who spoke in support of censure also used their time to praise Stevenson, a Jeffco schools graduate who began her teaching career in the district she now leads.
“We want you to know you are loved, you are appreciated and we will stand up with you every step of the way,” teacher-librarian Mike McQueen of McLain High School told her.
Boggs’ comments about Stevenson came during a lengthy Oct. 18 interview with Jason Worley, co-host of conservative Grassroots Radio Colorado on 560 AM.
During the interview, the two discussed the school district’s proposed tax increases. Worley, incensed by the idea of a Jeffco employee focused on social media, said, “If you have a Facebook person still in Jefferson County, your superintendent should be shot.”
“Yes,” Boggs responded.
“I’m sorry,” Worley said.
“Yep,” Boggs said, and the two laughed.
Later, Boggs told 9News that she was on her phone, not in the studio with Worley, and didn’t fully hear what he said.
She said she sent Stevenson a handwritten note containing an apology and asking for her forgiveness. Stevenson later said she believed the apology was “hollow.”
Boggs again apologized before the censure vote.
“I have a high level of respect for the superintendent. I have voted for her renewal a couple of times,” Boggs said. “My apologies are for the community as well and for my fellow board members.”
But several board members said Boggs’ comments deserved consequences. A censure is essentially an official reprimand or expression of disapproval, but carries no other weight.
“Ms. Boggs’ reaction and laughter … are reprehensible, especially when we take into consideration the history of Jefferson County,” said board President Lesley Dahlkemper. “If there is one thing we can all agree on … it’s that this board’s primary focus should be on student achievement, that’s our mission.
“I will also promise you that this board will not allow Ms. Boggs’ behavior to distract us from that mission.”
Boggs was previously censured in 2010 for what board members described as a string of “unethical behavior” that included Boggs’ threatening to derail a $32.8 million federal grant and to “tear this county apart” in a meeting with Stevenson.