Arizona Senator Don Shooter charged for barging school

YUMA, AZ - The Yuma city prosecutor filed three misdemeanor charges Friday against state Sen. Don Shooter in a case where the lawmaker confronted his grandson's teacher in a classroom.

Shooter was charged with criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, and interference or disruption of an educational institution. A court date has not been set.

The allegations stem from a March 22 incident in which Shooter went to the grandson's charter school. According to police reports, the school receptionist told the visibly agitated senator that he could not see the teacher, but he ignored her, continued to the classroom and confronted the female teacher.

Shooter had said earlier this week that his lawyer was working on a plea agreement to resolve the case. He declined to comment Friday and referred questions to his attorney, Ed Novak, who didn't immediately return calls from The Associated Press.

The city prosecutor did not file an assault charge that police had requested.

According to police, Shooter waved his finger in the teacher's face before a guidance counselor persuaded him to leave the classroom. At one point, the teacher began using her cellphone to record the confrontation, and students intervened and asked Shooter to leave.

Shooter told the counselor the teacher "was not appropriate and his grandson deserved better ... that she should not be teaching," according to the police report. He also said he was a "state senator and very influential man in Yuma and in the state."

Shooter walked out of the school without assistance, according to John Morales, executive director of the nonprofit Yuma Private Industry Council, which oversees the EOC Charter High School.

In a lengthy statement to police that was provided to the media in April, Shooter said the teacher had repeatedly called Shooter's grandson and another boy "retarded" and "special ed" and had refused to allow the grandson to use the bathroom when he was sick.

Shooter's statement said he went to the school, entered his grandson's class while it was in session and "requested to speak" with the teacher, telling her "if half the student's allegations are true, this is very disturbing and we need to discuss this."

In an interview this week before charges were filed, Shooter said he hoped city prosecutor Jay Cairns (KEHR'-ens) and Novak would come to an agreement.

"The whole thing's foolishness for me, from my viewpoint. It's much ado about nothing, in my opinion," Shooter said. "But that's one man's opinion. The prosecutor's gotta do his job. My lawyer's gotta do his job."

Shooter, a Republican first elected in 2010, heads the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Senate Ethics Committee could investigate him is a citizen makes a formal complaint. If the panel decides Shooter violated Senate rules, he could be brought before the full Senate and reprimanded, censured or possibly even expelled.

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