HAYWARD (KRON) — A special guest at an East Bay high school is causing an uproar from some parents, as former San Francisco 49er Ray Mcdonald, who will stand trial for on domestic violence charges, spoke with at-risk students in an assembly last month.
Parents said they did not find out about his appearance at Tennyson High School until after it happened, and they are not happy.
They complained to the district that this is already a poor performing school and using McDonald as a mentor was a bad idea.
“All we can do is apologize to the parents, and set a policy in place,” school district trustee Dr. Luis Reynoso said.
Tennyson High School has a drop out prevention program where guest speakers motivate students that are at-risk for not graduating.
Reynoso said with nearly 70 percent of the school district failing, someone with a questionable background shouldn’t be used as a mentor to these students.
“Talk to them about restraint and discipline, but yet, if you look at his lifestyle, it doesn’t show neither,” he said.
Both the 49ers and the Chicago Bears dropped McDonald after a number of run-ins with the law dealing with domestic violence and rape in 2014 and 2015. Volunteers that take part in the school’s program are normally vetted through a background check.
Yet, Reynoso said McDonald bypassed all that before talking to hundreds of students at an assembly.
“I’m just very disappointed at the whole leadership. Here we condone violence,” Reynoso said.
Parents were riled up about this appearance. But some students said they were excited about the visit.
Eduardo Lopez, who’s currently a quarterback on the varsity football team, and some of his friends, sat in that assembly.
None of them had any idea about McDonald’s current legal troubles but said they were inspired by his visit.
“How he went through like the hood and everything and how he made it to success,” senior Jason Tercero said.
“I’ll be going through stuff too, but…after hard times, I gotta keep my head up and do what I got to do so I can get to my goal,” Lopez said.
KRON reached out to the school district and haven’t heard back, but they did send a letter to parents that said McDonald has not been convicted of a crime, but it may have been inappropriate to have him as a guest speaker, although he was here to share a positive message. In the meantime, there has been an internal review to determine what protocols were followed when bringing him in.
It is the pattern of run-ins with police that’s most alarming to parents and administrators upset about his appearance.
In August of 2014, McDonald was arrested for domestic violence. Police said he was physical with his then fiance at their San Jose home.
McDonald was ultimately not charged in that incident.
in December of 2014, a woman who was partying at McDonald’s San Jose house said he sexually assaulted her.
He pleaded not guilty to rape charges. He is set to go to trial next month in that case.
The 49ers released McDonald in December of 2014. The Bears signed him the following March.
And in May of last year, he was arrested for domestic violence, child endangerment, and violating a restraining order.
Police said he was at a Santa Clara home where his former fiance lives. After that arrest, the Bears released him.
No word on where that case stands.