Posted on 02-23-2012
Crouching while Mexican: TUSD escalates militarization
“They first came after the department, the discipline, then the books... and now the students? Amazing -- the lack of outrage.”
Roberto “Dr. Cintli” Rodríguez
Roberto “Dr. Cintli” Rodríguez
An Arizona high school student who addressed the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) school board last Tuesday about the TUSD-MAS (Mexican America Studies) controversy, was reportedly pulled out of his classroom on February 17th by school security personnel.
TUSD board member Adelita Grijalva has confirmed that two TUSD security officers went into the student's classroom at Tucson High School as a direct result of the "crouching incident" at the February 14th board meeting.
Initially, the student gave a firm critique of the TUSD governing board and the superintendent for dismantling the district's Mexican American Studies Department. One by one, he criticized their conduct, including, not paying attention to speakers during call to the audience.
After the critique, he went back to his aisle chair. At a certain point he decided not to sit, but instead chose to crouch in the aisle next to his chair. For this, the security in the board room took an alert position, and approached. He told the student to sit. The student asked why at which point the officer said it was against district policy for anyone to crouch in the aisle. The student asked to see the regulation.
On Thursday, that same TUSD officer, along with another TUSD security officer, went into the student's classroom and removed him from class. Apparently, the administration complied and directed the officers to his classroom.
Grijalva said it was mind-boggling that the Tucson High administration complied, but even more so, for the officers to have been there in the first place. The officers purportedly went to show the regulation to the student during class time.
The unresolved question is who authorized and directed these two officers to go into Tucson High and pull the student out of class.
The student is being represented by an attorney.
At the same meeting, the issue of armed guards at TUSD school board meeting was brought up. School board member Adelita Grijalva requested an inquiry into how many armed guards are being deployed at each meeting, at what cost, and how long this will last? There may have been 30 audience members at the meeting on Feb. 14th, along with perhaps 20 TUSD officials, employees and school board members. Nine armed security personnel were visibly present at the meeting. At the recent White House Summit in Tucson, (which was at least 10 times bigger) with many White House administration officials present, there may have been six visible officers present.
However, the real travesty has to do with security coming into a classroom for the student during class time.
“They first came after the department, the discipline, then the books... and now the students? Amazing -- the lack of outrage. Perhaps what's needed is a few thousand petitions to explain to this district that it is not acceptable to ban departments, thrash disciplines, ban books and now go into classrooms to yank out students... for the serious felony of crouching while Mexican,” stated Roberto “Dr. Cintli” Rodríguez, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, activist and nationally syndicated columnist.