[Editor's Note: the above video is from Nov. 2014]
Former 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald’s return to the public eye is leaving behind collateral damage in the Hayward Unified School District.
The Hayward school board has placed its superintendent, Stan Dobbs, on paid administrative leave following outcry stemming from McDonald’s visit to Tennyson High School in February.
Dobbs will stay on leave while the district investigates his involvement in McDonald’s visit to the high school where he spoke to a group of at-risk students through the Hayward Promise Neighborhood initiative.
In a statement following McDonald’s visit, Dobbs said “McDonald, has a legal history that is at odds with the values that we promote in our schools. To our knowledge, he has not been convicted of a crime. However, given his current legal issues his presence at our school may not have been appropriate for our students, even if the message that he shared was a positive one.”
McDonald has pleaded not guilty in Santa Clara County Superior Court to criminal charges of raping an intoxicated woman in December 2014. He was released from the 49ers almost immediately after his arrest.
The Chicago Bears signed him in March of 2015 but released him two months later after he was arrested on charges of domestic violence and child endangerment.
Below is the statement from Wednesday by Board President Lisa Brunner:
An ongoing investigation into the circumstances under which Ray McDonald was invited to speak to Tennyson High School students continues to reveal new developments, including the Board’s conclusion that the blame placed by the Superintendent’s Office on Principal Lori Villanueva was unwarranted. We need to look further into this and further analyze what was actually done. At this point, however, two things are prodigiously apparent:
- The Superintendent should be placed on immediate administrative leave; and
- The Superintendent’s Office owes Ms. Villanueva an apology.
It is apparent, in order to maintain a clean, transparent investigation, and analysis of the results as we further examine this McDonald incident, we need to remove the Superintendent’s Office and Public Information Office from any further handling of any inquiries or anything else related to it.
Since the investigation has been authorized by the Board, as Board President, I will be responsible and available to the public and the media on behalf of the Board to answer questions and provide official information as soon as more facts become available.
We know many of the District’s stakeholders appreciate the work of the Superintendent. We acknowledge that the work we authorized him to do, the work that he was assigned to do, he did very well. He did a great job. The work he was NOT authorized to do is what is causing great concern. The things he did on his own, without informing the Board or worse by providing misinformation to the Board, are causing great consternation.
Because of the situation the Superintendent has placed us in, and the nature of the investigation itself, this is all it is wise to say right now. However, I intend to report back to you when more facts have become apparent or when we have concluded the investigation and have analyzed the results. This is just the first step and one piece of what we need to do for the families and students of the Hayward Unified School District.