Mexican American studies may be coming back to TUSD schools

Mexican American studies may be coming back to TUSD schools

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Mexican American Studies may be taught at TUSD again following a judge's ruling that the state law prohibiting it violates the U.S. Constitution.

The state passed a law in 2010 banning the studies program and instituting a $15 million fine if the district did not shut it down.

The district did but the case, brought by parents and teachers, has been winding its way through the courts for over a year.

District Court Judge A. Wallace Tashima has ruled the law violated the First and 14th Amendments, but has not ruled on an "appropriate remedy."

Some in the district feel the remedy is to take stock of the board's feelings to see if the program can be brought back.

"I feel vindicated," TUSD board member Adelita Grijalva said. "What I suspected and all the supporters suspected all along that his was racism."

She has asked that it be put on the next agenda, Sept. 12, to determine the mood of the five-member board.

"There are some members of our board that have made blanket statements about, well it's illegal, we can't talk about it," she said. "But now it's not illegal."

The law banning Mexican American Studies was proposed by then Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who ruled a year after it was passed that the district was in violation of the law.

Rather than risk the state fines, which would have amounted to 10 percent of the district budget annually, the district shut it down.

The district was not party to the lawsuit and neither was current Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

However, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas is.

Brnovich's office says it will consult with Douglas before making any decisions moving forward.

The fact it was ruled unconstitutional did not come as a surprise to former TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone, who had been superintendent at the time.

TUSD Board President Mark Stegeman did not commit to adding it to the next board agenda but said the items on the agenda are determined by him and the district superintendent.

But he added the usual to defer the board members request.

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