Update: In a previous post on view below about revelations that newly appointed Denver School Board member MiDian Holmes had a previous child-abuse conviction, we noted that "the swearing-in of Holmes is scheduled to take place next Monday, April 18, at a Board of Education work session. That leaves a lot of time for this controversy to either wind down or boil over."
Less than 24 hours later, Holmes posted a letter to her Facebook page announcing that she would be stepping down from the position.
We've shared the letter below in its entirety. Over the course of the missive, Holmes admits to "not thinking that my past would be the focus."
Here's the letter, followed by our previous coverage.
Yesterday evening, I am sure that many of you were on the receiving end of my story. A story that impacted my family just over 10 years ago. This story that I provided was one that I had to relive with my family and those that care for me, and while it was difficult, I am happy to know that I was able to be transparent with a community and a district that I would be honored to represent. I want to be clear that the information that I afforded to the news/media outlets was 100% true and that story was what I provided to the members of the DPS School board prior to their selecting me to fill the seat for District 4.
When I opened up, it was my intention to offer context to a criminal charge in my background so that the community could be in a position of awareness and to, ideally, subside any distractions that this would cause the schools and students of DPS. The charges that were on my record of child abuse/neglect, I assumed were relative to the story that I provided to the press, yesterday. The details regarding a second case, I was not aware, would be of public record, so I did not indulge in that information. I made this decision to protect the privacy of my children and my family. It was an omission, by design, to protect them from, what I thought would be, unwarranted backlash. What I didn’t realize is that it was the story that I shared with you, yesterday, that is not of public record.
Regarding the details of the case...were my children too young to be left at home alone? Absolutely. When this happened, 10 years ago, I was a young mother and was faced with making the choice of either going to work (which was my only source of income) or staying at home with my 3 children. I made sure that my children had food to eat, gave them specific instruction on how to maintain their safety while I was gone, and made the scary choice to leave for work with the intentions of calling every hour to check in on their well-being…and I did just that. Sadly, enough, 911 was dialed by my children and it was a hang up call. Following a protocol, officers responded and found my children at my home. I faced the charges and complied with the sentence that I received.
I understand that the community is concerned, and as parents in the district, their concerns are always valid. At this time, I do want to recognize and thank everyone for the out pour of support. While I haven’t been responsive, I have seen and I have felt all of the love and esteem that you’ve offered me. I have always said that the best hat that I wear in this environment is one of a mom, and just like every other passing moment in my life, I have to think that way.
When I ran for the school board appointment, my intentions were pure. I did so not thinking that my past would be the focus…I did so with my eyes and ambition on the future. The reality is clear that my past has the media and several members of the community mystified and I would be doing a great disservice to the 90,000 students of Denver Public Schools if I continued to allow this to be a distraction. Additionally, the work that our board has accomplished should not be tarnished, but it should be celebrated and I fully support that! Reluctantly, I am not going to accept the board’s appointment and will not take the seat for District 4.
To all of those that have supported me and even to those that didn’t, please understand that this situation will not silence me. I am passionate about seeing the success of the students of DPS and I will whole-heartedly continue to work towards that goal. No matter if I speak as a board member or just as a mom…I know my voice matters. I certainly hope that as a community and for those in the media…you all continue to stay passionate about DPS. I am fully expecting, anticipating and challenging both the media and those that have been verbal in the community about my past, to exhaust the same amount of energy and effort that it took to get us here, to support the students of Denver…they are the ones that truly matter!
Those that have offered me support through this process...shall we meet, again, in 2017? *wink, wink*
My final thought is to my children. Each of you have had to endure this with me and I love you. I want you to understand and know that this has been a gesture of strength, and while it may seem like those that have caused these distractions won, they haven’t and I will never let them.
"All kids need a little help...a little hope...and someone who BELIEVES in them! Children learn more from what you ARE than what you TEACH."
In the language of Facebook, please share if you are willing/able...
MiDian Z. Holmes Luckett
Original post, 5:54 a.m. April 14: Denver Public Schools is in damage-control mode in the wake of revelations that newly appointed boardmember MiDian Holmes has a past conviction for child abuse.
Making the case even more interesting are reports that boardmembers knew about this aspect of Holmes's past before appointing her.
DPS certainly seems to be standing behind Holmes at this point, even taking the blame for misinformation contained in the initial press release about her appointment, which inaccurately identified her as a University of Denver graduate rather than merely a DU attendee.
DPS communications has taken the blame for that error.
A photo of MiDian Holmes from her Facebook page.
Here's a 2013 bio of Holmes as featured in a Denver School Board Candidates survey from APlusDenver.org:
MiDian is a native of Denver, Colorado and grew up in the diverse communities of Park Hill, Montbello, Commerce City and Thornton. MiDian is a proud graduate of Montbello High School and attended the University of Denver where she studied the Business Administration curriculum. MiDian has forged a brilliant career path using her expertise in communication and business operations. Empowered by positive development in her community, MiDian is a sought-after and experienced activist who continues to win over the populace with her creative message, effervescent personality and exceptional interaction. With MiDian’s passion to witness enhancement in the public, she steps up to become an integral resource for the community. MiDian is grounded in her relationship with the Lord and uses His guidance to impact the lives of others.
Holmes has also served as the chairman for the organization Stand for Children.
Here's her profile pic with the group:
In addition, her involvement in educational issues has extended to testimony at the State Capitol, as seen in this 2012 video about testimony in favor of early literacy education legislation.
Nonetheless, the child-abuse conviction, first reported by Fox31, has dominated discussion of her new appointment.
As the station notes, Holmes was charged with “wrongs to minors” in 2005 — a matter that was dismissed after she attended parenting classes and successfully completed a year of court-supervised probation.
In addition, records from the following year indicate that Holmes was arrested for counts of “child abuse 7 (V)” and "child abuse/no inj/negligence.” The first was dismissed, while the second involved a fifteen-day jail sentence and a year's worth of probation.
Rather than dodge these revelations, Holmes spoke about them to news outlets such as Fox31 and 9News.
She maintains that they pertain to a single incident during which her two-year-old daughter wandered off and was found by a neighbor, who took her to the leasing office of her apartment complex — an account detailed in a statement from DPS board president Anne Rowe and the board as a whole that's reproduced below in its entirety.
The swearing-in of Holmes is scheduled to take place next Monday, April 18, at a Board of Education work session.
That leaves a lot of time for this controversy to either wind down or boil over.
Statement on behalf of DPS Board President Anne Rowe and the Board of Education:
While we have directly responded to a number of inquiries today regarding our newly selected board member, MiDian Holmes, we would like to take this opportunity to respond in writing.
Prior to Ms. Holmes being appointed to the board seat representing Northeast Denver, she informed board members about a situation in which she was accused of neglecting her 2-year-old daughter. Here is what she shared with boardmembers:
When this occurred more than a decade ago, Ms. Holmes was the single mother of three young children under the age of 10. After seeing her two oldest children off for the day, and while her young daughter was sleeping, Ms. Holmes showered in preparation for her work day. When she emerged from the bathroom, she discovered her daughter was no longer in bed and the apartment door was ajar. She ran outside to search for her child and a neighbor, noticing her frantic searching, let her know that she had found the young girl and had taken her to the leasing office of the apartment complex. Ms. Holmes went to the office and was told they had contacted police; police had picked up the girl.
Ms. Holmes was charged with neglecting her daughter in the case. She was unable to afford an attorney but did not meet the income requirements to qualify for a public defender. She represented herself and, after a discussion with the prosecuting attorney, agreed to plead guilty. She was eager to put the situation behind her and move forward with her family. Ms. Holmes was sentenced to parenting classes and she satisfactorily completed the requirement.
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At no time did Ms. Holmes inaccurately respond to questions on the board member application or questionnaire. She also did not represent on her résumé that she graduated from the University of Denver; she simply indicated that she had attended the school. The press release from the DPS Office of Communications incorrectly stated that she was a DU graduate.