Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Fresno Trustee Responds to Bullard Coach's Defamation Claim
gvw_nancy_price
By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 2 years ago on
June 16, 2022

Share

 

Fresno Unified Keshia Thomas says she’s sticking by her statements that Bullard football coach Don Arax has used racial slurs before her son and other Black students, which the coach has denied.

In response to Arax’s defamation claim submitted to the district, Thomas told GV Wire she’s confident that after a thorough review the claim “will be found to be baseless and without any merit.”

Thomas first publicly accused Arax of using racial slurs on GV Wire’s Unfiltered on May 17. The show’s focus was Bullard High School and racism, and it was aired two weeks after a photo of a Bullard student wearing what appeared to some to be a KKK hood was posted to social media and caused a firestorm of protests.

Arax called Thomas a “liar” and said he welcomed an investigation.

In his claim, Arax noted that contrary to what Thomas has said, her son — who she said reported the racial slur to her — was never a student at Bullard. The claim accused Thomas of having animosity toward Arax and his family, especially in connection over the renaming of Forkner Elementary, now named H. Roger Tatarian Elementary, and referenced a YouTube video snippet of a board meeting during the renaming discussion that accused Thomas of responding with “contempt and ridicule.”

Thomas Responds to Claim

In a statement released Wednesday to GV Wire, Thomas said:

“Although I am saddened by Coach Arax filing a complaint against me, I certainly welcome the investigation into my comments. I feel confident that after a thorough review that his claim will be found to be baseless and without any merit.

“On multiple occasions I advised Coach Arax to remove himself from this discussion, because he is a distraction to the issues that our Black students are facing, however against my advice to him he has decided to pursue this route. I also question Coach Arax’s unusual off hour fascination with me and my service as a Trustee. On multiple occasions I am sent messages from people in our community who are wondering why an employee of FUSD seems to be fixated on the only African American Trustee on the board who he continuously attacks on social media and now this make-shift YouTube video which is undoubtedly reading my mind with more accusations. I am now beginning to wonder about the fixation myself. Let’s not forget that I made the motion to rename Forkner to H. Roger Tatarian Elementary School.

“Lastly, my son was heavily sought after from high school coaches. As a Tenaya football team member he was invited to summer training for incoming freshman at no cost by the way. My son attended training at Bullard and it was at that time in which my son experienced the n-word being used towards player. He came home and said he refused to play for Bullard. So Mr Arax is correct he did not play for him.

“For the record I’ve done nothing wrong and the truth will ultimately be reported, and I certainly look forward to that day.”

Arax’s claim, which seeks damages in excess of $10,000, was on the agenda of Wednesday’s board meeting. The board voted 6-0-1 to follow the district recommendation to deny the claim and refer it to the district’s executive director of benefits and risk management for further review.

Thomas, noting that the claim includes references to herself and her son, abstained from voting.

DON'T MISS

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

DON'T MISS

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

DON'T MISS

Fresno State Is 1 of Carnegie Foundation’s 25 Leadership for Public Purpose Colleges

DON'T MISS

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

DON'T MISS

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

DON'T MISS

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

DON'T MISS

Alex Jones’ Assets Sold to Pay Sandy Hook Debt as Infowars’ Fate Decided

DON'T MISS

California Senate Passes Ban on Schools Notifying Parents of Child’s Pronoun Changes

DON'T MISS

Cal State LA President Bars Pro-Palestinian Protesters After Building Takeover

UP NEXT

Squaw Valley Man Allegedly Killed by Lifelong Friend

UP NEXT

Traveling/Not Traveling on District’s Dime Merits Mentions by Fresno Trustees

UP NEXT

Tyson Foods Heir Suspended as CFO After Second Alcohol-Related Arrest

UP NEXT

Fresno State’s Craig School Dean Honored with Humanitarian Award

UP NEXT

What’s the Value of a Fresno Unified Diploma When These ‘Classes’ Are as Easy as A-B-C?

UP NEXT

Trustees OK Bullard High Security Fence, Deny Charter School’s Independent Study Bid

UP NEXT

UCLA Names New Chancellor as Campus Is Still Reeling From Protests Over Israel-Hamas War

UP NEXT

Supreme Court, Siding With Starbucks, Makes It Harder for NLRB to Win Court Orders in Labor Disputes

UP NEXT

Drunk Driver Gets 15 Years to Life for Deadly Fresno Taco Truck Crash

UP NEXT

Edison High Murals Will Stay After Student Survey Says ‘Keep Them’

Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

14 hours ago

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

16 hours ago

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

16 hours ago

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

17 hours ago

Alex Jones’ Assets Sold to Pay Sandy Hook Debt as Infowars’ Fate Decided

18 hours ago

California Senate Passes Ban on Schools Notifying Parents of Child’s Pronoun Changes

18 hours ago

Cal State LA President Bars Pro-Palestinian Protesters After Building Takeover

18 hours ago

Supreme Court Overturns Trump-Era Bump Stock Ban, Reigniting Political Debate

18 hours ago

Trump’s 78th Birthday Showcases Loyalty from Fans and Republicans

18 hours ago

California Legislators Break with Gov. Newsom Over Loan to Keep Last Nuclear Plant Running

19 hours ago

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

Fresno Fire Department investigators have identified a woman whom they think left handwritten notes at homes before lighting them on fire. F...

12 hours ago

12 hours ago

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

13 hours ago

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

13 hours ago

Fresno State Is 1 of Carnegie Foundation’s 25 Leadership for Public Purpose Colleges

1978 Le Mans: 3 Americans in France
14 hours ago

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

16 hours ago

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

16 hours ago

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

17 hours ago

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

18 hours ago

Alex Jones’ Assets Sold to Pay Sandy Hook Debt as Infowars’ Fate Decided

Search

Send this to a friend