|Former 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald|
McDonald “doesn’t even know how to handle his own life,” said Hayward parent Eduardo Orozco. “I just don’t think it’s the right choice.” Orozco added that the allegations against McDonald do not send a positive message for teenage girls at Tennyson. “His record shows he doesn’t have much respect for women.”
Hayward Unified School District, however, seems proud about McDonald’s appearance. The district’s Facebook page described McDonald as “the perfect voice to help students recognize the importance of attending school daily and staying on track.” McDonald was joined at the February 25 event by a 49ers practice squad player.
“The two athlete[s] inspired students to stay focused and self-disciplined,” the Facebook post continued. “They engaged students in reflective questions about self-motivation and life distractions.”
The event was part of the school district’s Drop Out Prevention program, which is headed by Tennyson High football coach Anthony Jackson and funded by the Hayward Promise Neighborhood project, a $25 million federal program to help struggling students in South Hayward’s Jackson Triangle neighborhood. Cal State East Bay is also partner in the program.
But parents are strongly questioning the selection of McDonald as a role model for at-risk teens because of his many run-ins with the law. In August 2014, McDonald was accused by his ex-fiancée of bruising her arms and neck while she was holding their two-month-old baby. A Santa Clara County grand jury declined to indict McDonald of felony false imprisonment and domestic violence charges in that case, but did return an indictment of violating a restraining order filed by the ex-fiancée just two days after the alleged incident.
The 49ers then cut ties with McDonald after he was charged in December 2014 for alleged sexual assault of an intoxicated woman at his home in Santa Clara. In a statement, the team said it made the decision to release McDonald based on his “pattern of poor decision-making.” The Chicago Bears signed McDonald shortly thereafter, but then released him in May 2015 after he was arrested on suspicion of a domestic assault and child endangerment. Days later he was arrested again for violating a restraining order.
Some parents at Tennyson High, one of the most underperforming schools in the state, have complained to the high school’s administration and the superintendent’s office, along with school board in recent days, about McDonald’s address to students. Orozco, a parent of a Tennyson High student, said he was shocked when he saw the school district’s posting of the McDonald appearance on social media. [CONTINUE READING AT EASTBAYEXPRESS.COM]