Smoke bombing of TUSD meeting provokes viewer outrage

At least one protester set off a smoke bomb in the meeting room

Smoke bombing of TUSD meeting provokes viewer outrage

CREATED Apr 13, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr 13, 2012

Notes by:  Forrest Carr, KGUN9 News Director

Once again this week, the ongoing multiple-ring circus revolving around TUSD's ethnic studies battle has dominated viewer feedback to KGUN9 News.

First, viewers spoke out after the latest wild board meeting, during which the board voted to dump its Mexican American studies director, Sean Arce.  Protesters punctuated the meeting with chants, zip ties and ultimately at least one smoke bomb.

Then, viewers sounded off again when KGUN9 revealed that, acording to Tucson Police, TUSD safety officers had briefly detained the suspected smoke bomber, but then let him go in order to defuse a tense situation.  (Late Thursday a TUSD spokesperson sent KGUN9 News a statement giving a different version of events, saying that the suspect was never under under the control of officers and that the crowd had physically prevented an arrest.)

Viewers do not agree about what should happen to ethnic studies, but no one is expressing support for the smoke bomber or how TUSD safety officers handled the situation, despite the fact that their restraint succeeded in calming the crowd.  

Here are samples of what you had to say:

David Cole (via Facebook):  "Here we go again. MOB-RULE THUG MENTALITY. If you don't get your way, cause complete chaos. Great lesson for the kids who really care about the real way to handle disappointment. This is absolutely disgusting on so many levels. What the hell are these kids going to do in the real world of employment when they don't get their way?   RIOT until they do? And you parents that say go for it.  You disgust me as well."

John Kimbell (via Facebook):  "What a bunch of absolute idiots! They knew who he was, but released him in order to defuse the situation!!!!! Absolutely and totally foolish! Why didn't the Dallas police release Oswald in order to defuse the situation? I am thoroughly disgusted by the actions of these incompetent a@@@@@@@@@! They should all be fired."

Debbie Mossey (via Facebook):  "Thank God that no one suffered from an asthma attack. People really need to think before they pull such childish acts. For a serious asthma sufferer, that smoke could have caused an unnecessary trip to the ER."

Benny Gomez (via Facebook):  "It's not Mexican history! It's US history from a Mexican American perspective. There is more than one version of our history and it shouldn't be against the law to learn it. If we can learn about the founding fathers, Dr. King and Rosa Parks, then Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta and other Mexican-Americans who helped shape this country should also be taught about."

Paul St George (via Facebook):  "And you let him go. What chicken crap is that? When you bend to the ways of the mob, you empower them. They will not stop and you won't stop them. You deserve all the troubles you get TUSD. Grow up already. Who runs this organization?"

Rene Anderson (via Facebook):  "Big mistake. What other classes will they start dropping. Will schools only be able to teach history from a white male perspective? I can't believe we are having to protest this. School should be about learning, not restricting information."

Sergio Mendez (via Facebook):  "This was not about culture it was about politics. These people don't value diversity, they wanted by victims. This class was functioning as a political wing, not teaching my culture. It could be taught but these teacher were brainwashing our students. Our families are the greatest keepers of history,  not overpaid activist teachers. TUSD is going in the right direction (minus Hicks problems); the board has protected our students for these activists. Look what they taught their students to do.  I mean smoke bomb in a crowed board meeting? Someone could have been hurt."

Michael Giffin (via Facebook):  "I love the comment in the article: 'TUSD School Safety officers appropriately responded to and handled the incident, he said.  They maintained a level of safety while working to identify the person responsible for the act.' REALLY??? Then in another article they said they had the guy detained but let him go? Lets get back to basics, saying the pledge at the start of school, English, Reading Math, Social studies, Science and Art. Lets take the crap out and and educate our children! I am so glad my children are in not in TUSD!"

Maria Veliz Quinonez Brown (via Facebook):  "It is sad how ALL of you criticize the Mexican people but you ALL forget that the United States was once inhabited by only Native American People and MEXICAN people. It is the Anglo people that invaded this country many centuries ago and forced the MEXICAN people out of THEIR land! Now you want to take away THEIR history as well! Well, I feel sorry for those who forget that we are a FREE NATION and as such should also welcome the MEXICAN people as you have all of those who come from Africa, Cuba, Asia, Canada, and people from any other country who wish to ask for protection in OUR UNITED STATES! YES, I say UNITED!!!♥"

Steve Raw (via Facebook):  "If this is what Mexican American studies is all about, axe it. If advocates can't make a statement without disturbing the peace by lighting off smoke bombs, why would I endorse a class learning about their behavior and culture?"

"pollybac" (via  "How hypocritical! Those calling the educators/students racist are themselves racist! Why are so many Tucsonans 'afraid' of Mexicans? They are not ALL illegals; many are legally here for generations."

Larry Murray (via Facebook):  "I didn't hear one pro-American speaker!!!! If Mr. Arce is certified in anything other than anti-American studies then he should be retained, but if his only qualification is to cause a racial divide then time to let him go. "

Michael Graham (via Facebook):  "This is not a Good Idea. In my opinion TUSD is not worried about the education but more in the POLITICS. Poor Choice."

"2sunres" (via  "These kids and their parents need to grow up! Things happen, things change. Get with the program. You can study YOUR history on YOUR time. NOT on my tax dollar! You live in the USA. Try being a good US citizen, not a child."

Ray Dominguez (via Facebook):  "Idiots.  I guess this what they learned in their very special class."

"AZRLS" (via  "These are the same people who demand support for the Dream Act. Remember that the next time it is under discussion, and let your senators and representatives know how you feel. If the protesters are here illegally, out they go. No amnesty."

Bradley J. Crane (via Facebook):  "The Latino influence on US History continues to be written in our country's history and it is important that children learn this history along with The Revolutionary War, Civil War, slavery, gold rush, dust bowl, prohibition, etc. All vital parts to our history."

Lee Ann Freyermuth Calhoun (via Facebook):  "Amazing, the Anglos are all glad it happened.  I for one am not. Grew up in NM where we valued the different cultures and celebrated them. There are too many non-southwesterners here who do not appreciate the diversity in AZ. Why do we all have to be the same? How boring.... This has all been a slap at Hispanics.  How very sad."

Dave Larson (via Facebook):  "Publicly funded education should focus on studies that will enable students to succeed:  mathematics, reading and critical thinking skills. If students are so interested in MAS they should study it on their own dime by leveraging higher education venues."

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