SUSD responds to criticism of board member - Tucson News Now

SUSD responds to criticism of board member

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    (Source: Tucson News Now)(Source: Tucson News Now)

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    Kezia Willingham walked away from Blenman Elementary in Tucson after barely three months on the job. She took a job as a part time library assistant, then picked up some hours as a campus monitor to qualify for insurance. The violence that she witnessed shocked her.

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    Ron Bondy and Linda Gonzalez. (Source: Ron Brody / Facebook)Ron Bondy and Linda Gonzalez. (Source: Ron Brody / Facebook)

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The Sunnyside Unified School District made the following response in a news release to the criticism surrounding the fliers of a board member and subsequent accusations that the district and other board members have played a role in creating or distributing them:

This week the media posted online flyers produced by someone who took aim against the district and the community we represent. These flyers criticize board member Daniel Hernandez, Jr. in a particularly mean spirited and blatantly bigoted manner. The role of a board member is one that our community's children should hold in the highest respect. We hope our students will aspire to emulate such a community volunteer and become board members themselves when they are adults.

Though the students Sunnyside Unified School District serves are primarily Latino, our community is a very diverse community. We are not only proud of our community's diversity but we are outspoken about our acceptance of all its cultures which the district has been very proactive in supporting. We were the first district to speak out against S.B. 1070. and we have been very outspoken in supporting DACA, which allows undocumented students to remain in our schools and in this country. We also have had a strong voice of disapproval for the State mandated 4-hour ELL model that segregates students based on language acquisition.

The Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board, who are all members of the Sunnyside community, represent and respect the diversity of the community we serve. A direct attack on a person's character because of their sexual orientation disrupts our communities and creates an environment of intolerance. This district does not tolerate the offense of any persons because of their race, age, disability, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, national origin, and where applicable, political beliefs. This district supports diversity in our schools, among our employees and on our Governing Board. We assure you as the leadership of this district, that no board member had anything to do with the preparation or the distribution of the flyers.

The Sunnyside Unified School District faces many challenges and these unconscionable attacks distract from what should be the district's focus: our students. We want to go on record saying that neither we nor any administrator or Board Member with whom we have spoken knows who is responsible for preparing or distributing the flyers. Everyone with whom we have spoken feels that the flyers are shameful. This kind of bigotry has no place in our society or our district. We encourage our staff and community to use this situation as an important teachable moment, so that we can help our students understand that our world is diverse and every human begin has value and importance.

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