Horne Reacts to Unruly Student Ethnic Studies Protest - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Horne Reacts to Unruly Student Ethnic Studies Protest

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It was a protest like you've probably never seen before -- rowdy students shutting down a meeting at the school district headquarters in Tucson.

They took over the room, even chaining themselves to the board members' chairs.

Tuesday night, the school board was going to vote on a proposal to make Mexican-American studies courses electives -- and not required classes.

Mexican-American Studies classes teach history from a Mexican-American perspective.

Former state superintendent and current Attorney General Tom Horne says the courses are racist, and illegal, and the district needs to get rid of them.

It was chaos as a group of students protested at the Tucson Unified School District meeting, some even chaining themselves to board member's chairs. They were upset over a plan to make Mexican-American studies an elective course.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne fought against ethnic studies courses as superintendent. He says the protest went too far.

"These are young impressionable kids, they're influenced by their teachers, I mean they didn't learn this behavior, I believe their parents taught them to be polite," he says.

State Senator Steve Gallardo was scheduled to speak at the meeting. He says the students are frustrated.

"They're going to want to make sure their voices are heard. And their voices were heard very loud and clear yesterday," says Sen. Gallardo.

Horne says he doesn't believe any ethnic studies classes should be taught in public schools.

"It's racist and you don't want to have racist courses in the public schools," he says. "There are a lot of stereotypes about why people should dislike white people, for example, in the curriculum, which I've quoted in my findings against the ethnic studies program."

But supporters of the curriculum say getting rid of it erases an important part of the past.

"We have folks here, politicians who do not like the history of the past, and they are trying to mark it off, and that's unfortunate," says Gallardo.

The school district meeting was rescheduled for May 5.

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