Douglas County School Board member Elizabeth Hanson resigned Tuesday night, citing concerns over the district not implementing an equity policy and spending taxpayer dollars on lawsuits.
Hanson, who has served on the board since 2019, announced she is resigning after protesters gathered outside the district building to speak out against the reported racism happening at Castle Rock Middle School where eighth-grader Jeramiah Ganzy has been a victim of racial slurs in school and through social media.
In her announcement, Hanson said she does not feel like the district is providing a safe environment for all students and that she cannot be a part of a board that does not act against racism and discrimination.
“Jeramiah is not the only student who has experienced disgusting racism, antisemitism, homophobic or transphobic acts in this district,” Hanson said, adding that she hopes her resignation shines a light on the conversations happening. “There are egregious things happening on this board.”
Hanson also cited concerns with ongoing legal battles.
Hanson called out board members Becky Myers, President Mike Peterson, Christy Williams and Kaylee Winegar for rejecting a settlement in a lawsuit that alleges the four majority board members broke Colorado Open Meetings Law when firing former superintendent Corey Wise.
The board has instead opted to go to trial to fight the claims in June.
Hanson has been increasingly frustrated since the new majority board members took office in 2021, with tensions heating up when Wise was fired without cause in February 2022.
Hanson was against firing Wise and questioned how the four majority board members went about it.
The district has since settled a legal claim filed by Wise, agreeing to pay him $270,733.61 for the remainder of his contract and $562,000 to resolve the claim.
Before stepping down, Hanson thanked district staff, teachers and students for making her years on the board impactful. She also thanked fellow minority board members David Ray and Susan Meek for their service on the board.
The board will have 60 days to appoint someone to the seat, which is up for election this November.
At the end of the meeting, Meek said she's sad for the district to lose Hanson and that she had never cried at a board meeting before Hanson's resignation. Ray added that he hopes the board will address the concerns Hanson raised before leaving.
Peterson thanked Hanson for her service to the board.
Thelma Grimes contributed to this story.