LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Danielle Ford is not afraid of criticism.
“There’s nothing that anybody can say to me that’s going to upset me because I’m my biggest critic," said Ford in a sit-down interview with 13 Action News.
In her first six months as a CCSD trustee, Ford arguably faced the most criticism after using the word “colored” to describe black students, who were the victims of racist threats at Arbor View High School. Ford said it was an unfortunate case of “misspeaking.”
“When I made my mistake and kind of giggled it was more like, ‘oh my gosh, I’m here fighting for this and I said the wrong word and I offended the people I’m trying to help,’" said Ford. "I totally felt super bad for anybody that I truly offended because I understand the historical context of it.”
Ford said in the months prior to that board meeting and during it, she had made a point to discuss the disproportionate number of black and Hispanic boys being suspended in the school system. She says she was also working with cultural sensitivity experts to modify trustee policies and push for greater diversity. Still, she said she takes responsibility for her words.
“It was a learning experience. There’s been other times I say things because people with ADHD are just very straightforward and it could be a good thing or it could be a bad thing," said Ford.
It’s that tell-it-like-it-is nature that Ford said got her elected in the first place, and put her back in the spotlight this week after she used an expletive to explain the behavior of two fellow trustees.
“The comment that I made about the measurement of genitalia was not a mistake," said Ford. "That was just me wanting to tell it like it is and not really caring and wanting to be like, ‘this is dumb,’ and say it in the most clear way that I could.”
Ford took to Facebook Live Thursday night to say her ADHD can cause her to speak impulsively, saying there needs to be "greater understanding," and accommodations need to be made. Ford said her psychiatrist suggested they send a note to media outlets explaining the symptoms of ADHD and a request that the outlets consider disclosing in their reports about her that she has the disorder.
"Otherwise it’s like saying a trustee fell off the stage and forgetting to say they are missing a leg," she said.
Ford said she her ADHD is not an excuse for her behavior but she hopes talking about her ADHD and pushing for accommodations will not only help her but the students and staff in CCSD that may be dealing with the disorder.