Seven people — including two women in their late 60s — were arrested Tuesday night during the TUSD Governing Board meeting.
An over-capacity crowd showed up for the discussion of the district’s Mexican American Studies and whether some of the courses should be turned into electives.
All of those arrested were cited and released on a misdemeanor charge of third-degree criminal trespassing.
The Tucson Police Department was on hand at the request of the Tucson Unified School District. About 100 TPD personnel were available in the general area of district headquarters at 1010 E. 10th Street. However, only 40 to 50 were actively utilized at any given time, police said.
Those arrested have been identified as: Brook Bernini, 32; Guadalupe Castillo, 69; Maria Galup, 33; Amy Meller, 19; Wesley Narro-Castro, 21; Katerina Sinclair, 35; and Ann Yellott, 67.
Sinclair was the first to be arrested after she tried to address the board after the call to the audience portion had ended. Sinclair refused requests to leave and was led out of the room by police. Sinclair is the mother of a TUSD ninth-grader. She intended to speak in support of the program.
Sinclair said she doesn’t believe that integrating Mexican American history and culture into a traditional course will work.
“As a mother of a TUSD student, I have the right to say what I think about my daughter’s education,” she said. “To arrest a parent for speaking at a public school board meeting is not viable.”
Sinclair went on to say that she wouldn’t have defied the board had it said from the start that the vote would be postponed and that there would be the opportunity for more community dialogue at a future forum.
While TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone made mention of the possibility of a community forum in the future, it wasn’t until four hours into the meeting that the board decided to go forward with his proposal.
Information was not available Wednesday on when the TUSD forum might be held.