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.
Dear Senator Russell Pearce,
I am compelled to write to you about a recent event that occurred to me. I currently work as a substitute teacher in the west valley areas of Phoenix, Glendale, and Peoria. 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. The day started out as usual turning on the television listening and watching the announcements and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. During the Pledge of Allegiance I notice the vast majority of students refusing to stand and say the pledge. I asked the students why they refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance and they responded by saying, “we are Mexicans and Americans stole our land.”
The teacher’s instructions were for the students to read a few pages and answer the questions regarding Mark Twain in their history textbook and to finish their final drafts to Senator Steve Gallardo thanking him for his position on Illegal Immigration rights. Their teacher apparently had showed them a video with Senator Steve Gallardo and Lou Dobbs. Most of the students came unprepared for class not possessing paper and pencil. I provided the students with paper and pencils only to have them wade-up the paper and throw it at each other along with their pencils.
The students’ final drafts that I read were basically the same. Most of them stated they were in the country illegally, White Americans are racist, and that they came here for a better life. I asked the class if America adopted Mexico immigration laws would Americans still be consider racist? That question they could not answer and called me a racist for asking it. I mentioned that my wife and children are Hispanic so how could I be racist?
I asked the students to stop speaking Spanish in class because it was impolite to speak a language in front of people who may not speak that language. Their response was that Americans better learn Spanish and their customs because they are taking their land back from us.
When it came to completing the Mark Twain assignment only 10 students completed it out of all my classes. Most of the students refused to open the book, tore the pages out of the book, or threw the textbooks at each other. I thought are these the students we are trying to educate with taxpayers money. 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. If we are able to remove the illegals out of our schools, the class sizes would be reduced and the students who wanted to learn would have a better chance to do so and become productive citizens.
I applaud and support your efforts to stop this invasion into our state and country. When the citizens of a country are forced to speak the invaders language, adopt their customs, and forced to support them, are we not a conquer nation? I do not want to see our state and nation turned into a third world country. Thank you for standing up to this invasion. You may contact me by phone, e-mail, or mail. Thank you, again.