TUSD Board expected its 3-hour meeting to get crazy
Protesters took over with chants, rants and smoke bombs
TUSD prepared for wild Board meeting Video by kgun9.comvideo
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- "We expected the meeting to get a little crazy and it did."
TUSD board president Dr. Mark Stegeman expected outrage from the public as the board voted on MAS director Sean Arce's contract. He said the board decided in advance to extend the audience call to three hours.
"I personally have a strong view about free speech. I think it's important for people to have a chance to express themselves in a meeting. We agreed to have a long call to the audience to give people a chance to express themselves -- give them a chance to speak. I did not want to regulate that speech too much," he said.
So more verbal latitude was given to the public -- and a few times he said he was about ready to cut off the mic.
"Our goals were to get through the business of the board, which didn't happen April 26th of last year so we didn't want that to repeat," he said.
At one point, Stegeman says the board left the meeting to decide whether to clear the room so they could get down to business. "We had the option to try to move everyone out. We took the option to minimize the chances of anyone getting hurt as long as we get through the business. And we did. Our goal was to make sure no one got hurt."
But one thing stegeman says he didn't expect -- that smoke bomb that was hurled into the crowd. "I didn't expect the smoke bombs specifically, but we expected something to happen right after we adjourned the meeting. That's a bad thing. I think it's illegal. Security is working on that to find that person."