Congressman calling for investigation of fliers in Sunnyside - Tucson News Now

Congressman calling for investigation of fliers in SUSD

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

An Arizona congressman is calling for a hate crime investigation after attacks on Sunnyside Unified School District Governing Board Member Daniel Hernandez.

Hernandez is one of four Sunnyside School Board members facing recall efforts, but some say things have gone too far.

An online flier alludes to Hernandez' sexual orientation, saying, "Put a real man on the school board."

Hernandez is openly gay.

There have been accusations that SUSD and board members are connected to the fliers.

Friday afternoon the district sent out a news release calling the fliers mean spirited and bigoted, and denying allegations that the district or governing board members were involved with the fliers.

In a statement, they say, "The Sunnyside Unified School District faces many challenges and these unconscionable attacks distract from what should be the district's focus: our students."

Meanwhile, Arizona Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva says this attack is more than just politically motivated.

He says it's personal.

He called a news conference to announced he is calling on the Pima County Attorney and the Pima County Schools Superintendent to investigate the fliers.

He says he also will ask the U.S. Department of Justice to assist in finding out the source and the effect of the fliers.

He told reporters his office had made the decision to stay out of the recall fight in Sunnyside, but that the fliers attacking Hernandez had crossed the line.

Grijalva says the flier is, "In and of itself, free speech."

He says the question is whether it has led to a crime, especially a hate crime.

"The law and the line-crossing is: Did it result in threats or jeopardizing the individual or the institution? And how do they glean that? They glean it by any documented threats. I'm sure they'll talk to Daniel. They'll talk to everybody involved. They document it by even internet postings: 'I'm going to get you,'" Grijalva explains.

Grijalva says if an investigation finds the fliers did not lead to threats or anything else illegal, then that would be the end of the investigation.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

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