Hayward Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs
invited Gloria Allred to Tennyson.

The plight of schools in Hayward has long been a drag on a city that can’t seem to take one solid step forward. When former 49ers defensive lineman and alleged rapist Ray McDonald visited Hayward’s Tennyson High School last February the negative attention again set back the struggling school district. Not only were Hayward residents reminded of their underperforming schools after news of the odd invitation of McDonald to Tennyson, but the entire Bay Area and even the entire country through ESPN were introduced to its ineptitude.

Thankfully, the scorn towards Hayward schools naturally subsided just a week or so after the McDonald story had run its natural course. So why did the Hayward Unified School District decide to wind up the story once again by inviting famed Hollywood civil rights attorney Gloria Allred to speak to Tennyson students about the McDonald allegations? Allred represents the woman McDonald is alleged to have raped while she was intoxicated. McDonald’s trial is scheduled to start in April.

Famed attorney Gloria Allred spoke to Tennyson
students about women’s rights. Her client alleges
Ray McDonald raped her while intoxicated.

Avoiding any possibility of reigniting a story negative to your position is Public Relations 101. Yet, the HUSD led by Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs did just that when he sent a letter to Allred inviting her to speak at Tennyson. For what purpose is not clear. But anyone who has watched television knows anytime Allred shows up she intends to stoke a media circus and bolster her client’s position using the public realm.

What occurred last Friday after Allred addressed students about women’s rights was easy to predict. She then stood before local TV cameras and blasted the defendant’s alleged actions and the school district for allowing McDonald to speak at Tennyson all the while being accused of felony sexual assault.

While Allred’s case may be just, it has absolutely nothing to do with Hayward or Tennyson students, only her own objectives. And so again, while Hayward school officials continually paint a new day for the city’s youth, they again allowed poor and minority children to be used, this time as props to Allred’s performance. However, this time nobody in Hayward, not even the poverty pimps, seem to benefit from this episode.

Former 49er Ray McDonald spoke to 250 Tennyson
students on Feb. 25 while awaiting a trial for 
felony sexual assault 

What is unclear though is who, among school officials, knew about McDonald coming to Tennyson last February and whether anyone understood what it meant? Hayward Promise Neighborhood, a $25 million federally-backed education program administered with help from Cal State East Bay, made it clear initially that Hayward Superintendent Dobbs was well aware of the McDonald visit beforehand. But, in a letter to Tennyson parents later, Dobbs laid the blame on Tennyson High’s principal and Hayward Promise. The latter never returned emails asking for a response to Dobbs’ claim and Tennyson’s principal, who’s job was in jeopardy as late as last year, similarly, avoided inquiries.

Recall, Dobbs is the superintendent who attacked two school board members–effectively his bosses–last September during a closed session meeting. He later blamed his demeanor that day literally on a pain in the ass (colonoscopy procedure) and was never publicly admonished for his actions. How can you blame the principal and Hayward Promise for keeping silent when every person of power in Hayward lavishes praise on Dobbs as the savior of the city? There’s certainly not much upside to being a martyr in Hayward.