PHOENIX - The Latino Caucus is urging Senator Lori Klein to apologize for reading a letter from a Valley teacher on the Senate floor that they say is offensive.
The letter, which featured strong words about Hispanic students, was written to State Senate President Russell Pearce and has some wondering about its authenticity.
Latino lawmakers are now questioning Klein's judgement in reading the controversial letter on the Senate floor last week.
ABC15 has contacted Klein and is waiting to hear back
On Monday, State Senator Steve Gallardo asked Pearce to reveal the name of the teacher in question so the legislature could confirm this person exists.
Both Gallardo and Klein agreed it is time to validate the statements made by a person identifying himself as a substitute teacher.
Both state senators also said if everything checks out, there are some serious conversations that need to be addressed by Arizona school districts and teachers.
Klein said Pearce e-mailed her the letter last week.
The subject line read: “I removed his name, but this is typical of calls and e-mails and comments across this state on a regular basis.”
ABC15 has obtained the name of the person who signed the letter but we have chosen not to release it at this time.
He writes, “I was called upon to teach history and language arts for 8th grade at a Glendale public school. The number of students I had in each class ranged from 28 to 38 children, which were almost all Hispanic and a couple of Black children.”
He said the students were tearing pages out of textbooks, throwing pencils, generally not prepared for class and speaking Spanish in class.
He added, “I have found that substitute teaching in these areas most of the Hispanic students do not want to be educated but rather be gang members and gangsters. They hate America and are determined to reclaim this area for Mexico.”
He closes the letter by writing, “Thank you for standing up to this invasion.”
Gallardo is outraged and questions Klein’s judgment on reading words on the Senate floor that he said are offensive, hateful, and propagate common Hispanic stereotypes.
I did reach out to four school districts with 8th grade classrooms in Glendale.
Three of the four confirmed that the author of the letter is not registered with them as a substitute teacher.
David Hume, spokesman for the Pendergast Elementary School District, wrote us to say that the comments “do not represent any typical educational environment in Pendergast schools. The remarks do not warrant any legitimate response.”
Danielle Airey of Peoria Unified School District wrote us to say, “The type of behavior described in this letter is not typical of our 8th grade classrooms. What you would expect to find as typical in our schools are classrooms where teachers are focused on instruction and students are engaged in learning. We would expect any of our teachers, including substitute teachers, to handle inappropriate behavior through our discipline process or by bringing it to the attention of the principal.”
Jim Cummings of the Glendale Elementary School District added that he thought it was strange that the writer mentioned a Mark Twain assignment.
He said, at least in their district, students do not cover Mark Twain in the 8th grade. He said that is high school reading material.
I did leave a voicemail for the author of the letter and sent him an e-mail requesting an interview.
We will continue digging on this developing story.
Read the teacher's letter on the next page and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.