Ethnic Studies clash spills outside TUSD meeting
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - A pro-Ethnic Studies protest at a TUSD board meeting Tuesday night ended in chaos inside and outside the room where an important vote was supposed to take place.
TUSD board members had planned to vote on a proposal that would make Ethnic Studies classes elective courses instead of part of the core curriculum for high schools in Tucson. Instead, students and other Raza Studies supporters stormed the room, loudly and passionately protesting the proposal.
The students were shackled to the idea of keeping Ethnic Studies the way it is--literally. They chained themselves to chairs in the board room for hours, forcing its cancellation.
"Chains. This is the effective way to do it," one high school student declared as he rattled his chains in front of a 9 On Your Side camera.
After the students unlocked the chains, cheers and congratulations spilled into the streets outside the TUSD administrative office. People in a celebratory mood played music and danced in the street.
But the mood outside wasn't victorious for everyone. Some people who came to the meeting hoping to speak out against Ethnic Studies were heckled and even screamed at by Raza Studies supporters.
U.S. Citizens Nina Samuels and Pat Sexton, originally from Peru and Guatemala respectively, came to speak at the meeting. When it was canceled because of the protest, they spoke with KGUN9 News instead.
"This is pure hate," Samuels said. "And they're racist. The people inside are racist. They hate who they call the white people, they hate them."
"They're not about equality, they're not about fairness. They're not about true education, they're about indoctrination," Sexton told 9 On Your Side.
Speaking of equality, some people outside the TUSD building voiced their opinions that the presence of KGUN9 News was promoting just the opposite. One woman even interrupted the taping of an interview to tell 9 ON Your Side reporter Joel Waldman that he "needed to work on what real objectivity means in journalism." The unidentified woman then continued to heckle Samuels and Sexton as they tried to continue the interview.
TUSD has confirmed the vote to determine whether to change Ethnic Studies courses into elective classes has been rescheduled for May 5th. Stay with KGUN9 On Your Side for continuing coverage on this controversial vote.