9OYS Continuing Coverage: Ethnic Studies Battle
TUSD rant follow-up: speaker defends finger-flip and concealed knife
John White tells KGUN9 News he did nothing wrong
Reporter: Steve Nuñez
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The man who tried to carry a six-inch pocket knife into TUSD's Board meeting Tuesday night will not face criminal charges. According to Tucson Police, John White did not break the law.
TUSD claims White did not immediately declare his blade when passing through a metal detector.
However, a district security officer claims he then agreed to take his knife to his vehicle before he was allowed to enter the meeting to speak out against ethnic studies.
But on Thursday, White had a face-to-face talk with 9 On Your Side Reporter Steve Nuñez. White did not want to be interviewed on camera.
Still, that did not stop White from defending his actions when he flipped-off the board during his call to the audience.
White also denied he had bad intentions. He justified having a pocket knife on him because he claims he always carries one with him everywhere he goes.
Yet, according to the district's public records department, White is no stranger to board meetings. Since April, White has submitted a request form to speak out against ethnic studies three times at three separate board meetings.
Police confirmed to 9 On Your Side there are no other reports on record that involve White trying to carry a knife into a school board meeting.
To set the stage, during the meeting Board President Mark Stegeman called out the name "Juan Blanco" as the next guest speaker.
David Morales a blogger that goes by the name Three Sonorans-Tucson Citizen video-taped the entire meeting.
White then stepped up to the podium. He then explained by saying, "Blanco is white, my last name is White."
White then ceded his time to John White to comply with board policy that prohibits speakers from submitting false information.
As the video continues, White then flipped off the board and said, "Chicanos want to have war, a civil war."
"When blood flows there's not going to be any white flags or time outs," said White.
White then started pointing at Board Member Adelita Grijalva and blamed her dad, Congressman Raul Grijalva, for this coming civil war.
Grijalva then turned to Stegeman and said, "I think this is very disrespectful and he should not be allowed to speak"
White responded, "You bet its is."
Board Member Judy Burns, who is in charge of letting speakers know when their time is up, then told White his time had expired.
But Stegeman told White he could continue speaking because he still had the floor.
Compare this scene, to the board meeting that took place on May 3rd when police arrested seven Raza studies supporters, including Mari Galup, for speaking out of turn.
Superintendent John Pedicone ordered police in riot gear to arrest Galup.
We sat down with Galup to show her the video of Tuesday's board meeting.
Nuñez asked Galup if her actions were any different than White's.
"Yes, it is," said Galup. "Because the fact that he was allowed that space when you're not allowed that space you have to take it."
Galup accused Stegeman of governing with a double standard.
"When you have an anti-Mexican American studies you will get the floor and you will be allowed to speak and speak diatribes and speak hatred," said Galup.
So why did Board President Mark Stegeman allow White to continue speaking but not allow time for Galup to sound off? Stegeman admitted to 9oys on Wednesday he could be more even-handed when enforcing the rules.
"Its possible that I should be a little tighter on everybody and shut those conversations off sooner," said Stegeman.
And even though Galup said she's offended and insulted by White's comments, she does not believe police should have been called in to arrest White for voicing his opinion.
"But it's the fact that you can see that some people are treated differently then others," said Galup.
As for the trespassing charges filed against Galup? The UA student told 9 On Your Side TUSD dropped her misdemeanor trespassing charges last week.
Meanwhile, White told 9 On Your Side he did not do anything that was inappropriate. He said he plans to continue his fight to ban ethnic studies.