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Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy co-founder banned from DPS property

“I think there’s so many falsehoods, so many lies and it’s baseless," Brandon Pryor said.

DENVER — A parent and coach well-known in the community for his activism has been banned from district property by Denver Public Schools (DPS)

Brandon Pryor is also a co-founder of the Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy and was a volunteer football coach for the Far Northeast Warriors

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He has been removed from that coaching position, and is prohibited from volunteering or participating in any district sporting events. He is allowed access to the two schools his sons go to, and events open to the general public. 

This is all detailed in a letter that DPS sent to Pryor last week. 

In that letter, DPS said in part: 

This letter serves to inform you that your repeated abusive, bullying, threatening, and intimidating conduct directed at staff of the Denver Public Schools ("DPS" or the "District") has been inappropriate, harmful to the District's educational programming, and in violation of DPS Administration Policies KFA, KI, and G, which individually and collectively prohibit, among other things, disruption of teaching or administrative operations, and the creation of an unsafe/threatening environment for our students and staff members. 

"None of it is true. Everything that I've said is protected under the First Amendment," Pryor said. "I haven’t threatened anyone. I haven’t physically attacked anyone or harmed anyone."

DPS did not provide any additional comment, but it did provide the letter sent to Pryor and 30 items of "supporting documentation," including social media posts and text messages. 

"Free speech is designed to agitate. It's designed to effect change," Pryor said. "It can’t effect the change that we desire without making people feel uncomfortable, especially people in public seats."

VIDEO: Community members rally in support of coach, parent Brandon Pryor

The district details incidents going back to 2020, some in which they describe Pryor as "hostile" and accuse him of swearing at district employees. 

"When they see me so passionate or if they think I'm angry, it's because our community is experiencing so much pain, so much trauma, so much hurt that has been inflicted on us by the DPS," Pryor said. "The cursing, they may not like it, right? But it hasn’t been threatening and it hasn’t been repeated. There’s been maybe one or two instances where I’ve cussed at a district employee, period."

In one of his social media posts provided by DPS, Pryor wrote, "The ENTIRE Leadership Team at Montbello needs to be FIRED!"

Credit: DPS

Another screenshot of a message exchange provided by DPS shows Pryor writing, "When I see you, you are going to have a problem."

The individual replies with, "It's not necessary to threaten me." 

Pryor responds with, "If you think it's a threat. Report it to the police. Its a promise," and then swears at the person. 

Pryor said this message exchange was not with a district employee, but a community member. 

Credit: DPS

"Everybody's questioning my behavior. Let's question the Black boys being four and a half times more likely to be shuffled into special education and affective need centers. Let's talk about all the Black employees that are being forced out of the district," Pryor said. "Let’s talk about the No Justice No Peace podcast getting their name trademarked so that you can silence students’ voice. Let’s talk about them banning me to silence the most vocal advocate for Black students in this district."

Pryor said his wife, who is an attorney, is currently drafting a letter demanding DPS rescind the ban they've placed on him. 

“They’re focused on all of the wrong things. They want us to focus on this so they can continue with the status quo and continue oppressing Black students, brown students and families all across the district," he said. "We're going to continue to fight until we get the desired result, and that's equity and justice. Racial justice inside of this district is what we're after."

There is a march planned in support of Pryor at Brother Jeff's Cultural Center on Wednesday. It starts at 2:30 p.m. A rally is planned afterward at the DPS Central Office.

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