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Cherry Creek school board president resigns after use of racial slur

Board of Education President David Willman admitted he defended his use of a racist term before eventually apologizing. He resigned on Friday.

DENVER — WARNING: This story contains language that some viewers may find graphic or disturbing.

Two days after apologizing for the use of a racist term, Cherry Creek school board president David Willman has resigned.

"It is with deepest regret that I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign my Board of Education President and Membership positions, effective immediately," Willmans' letter of resignation says. 

"It became clear to me in these unique times, that the board needed a strong and consistent leadership message moving forward within our community, thus my time in this role on the Board of Education needs to come to a completion." 

In a letter sent to district staff Wednesday, Willman apologized for the use of a racist term and then his reaction where he doubled-down on the use of the word.

Willman was speaking at a teachers banquet at Denver Marriott South Tuesday and used the word "tar-baby" when telling the story of a teacher he had grown up with whose last name was Tar, according to CCSD district spokesperson Abbe Smith.

Willman wrote in the letter that he doubled-down on his use of it during the Teacher Awards Banquet Tuesday night after he was approached about using the term.

"I used a racist term that is deeply offensive, and I am truly sorry," he wrote. "When first confronted about my use of the word, my initial reaction was defensive and I tried to explain my reason for the word choice."

He goes on to say that he's had some more time to reflect on his choice of words and now regrets using the term. 

"I now understand that my words were hurtful and damaging," he continues in the letter. 'I own my mistake and apologize for it."

He explained his reasons for writing the letter to his staff because he represents the entire school district community. Willman apologizes to those in the room in the letter and to the entire staff.

"I commit to you that I will do what it takes to repair the damage I have caused and to work toward an inclusive culture that values and respects all," he continues.

Willman was elected to the school board in 2011, according to his bio page. The board will now launch an application process to fill the vacant position.  

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