Update: Allegations of Racism Against Bennish

Mari Davis, Reporter

Jay Bennish staff photo. Photo from OHS staff pages.

UPDATE:

At 8:50am, January 15th, 2020, the Cherry Creek School District issued a letter to the Overland community concerning the status of Jay Bennish.

According to district communication, Mr Bennish used the “n word” in his classroom, and distributed t-shirts with derogatory and racist messages and images. The shirts display the phrase, “Who You Calling N****?!” on the front, and “Rehabilitating Kings & Queens Since 2004” on the back, along with images of a lion and a woman, both with crowns on their heads. Bennish is being investigated because of these t-shirts, and because of his use of “offensive and racist language with students that created an environment where students did not feel safe or free to learn,” according to the letter sent by the district.

The district has yet to assess whether or not Bennish will be dismissed from his duties as a teacher at Overland, but sent the communication out with the expectation that the media would be quick to cover this story, as they were in 2006 when Bennish was in the spotlight for his controversial political statements. The investigation is assessing whether his actions violate the CCSD policies.

Fox31 Denver put a story out this morning, with an interview from Bennish and Overland graduate Precious Jarrett, who participated in the Black Student Alliance when Bennish was the sponsor. The Scout was unable to communicate with Bennish, and have found most comments by students, prior and current, to be too biased to fairly print in our publication.

Below is the letter from CCSD. This story will be updated as more information is revealed.

The letter of communication from Cherry Creek School District to the Overland community, including photos of the t-shirts that Bennish distributed to students.