MAS supporters try new tactics

CREATED Jul 18, 2012

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Reporter:  Jessica Chapin

TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - People upset over the dismantling of Mexican-American Studies are finding new ways to outrage the Tucson Unified School District.  This time, taking their message directly to one board member's doorstep.

A group called Tucson Freedom Summer rallied against school board member Mark Stegeman Wednesday on his front yard, calling his recent resolution proposal purely political.

"Now, Stegeman conveniently decides to take back his capricious decisions," said Alfred Chavez. 
During their next scheduled meeting, the school board will decide on the following resolution proposed by Stegeman:

            "The books which were used in the suspended Mexican American Studies
             courses, including the seven titles which staff removed from classrooms in
             January 2011, shall henceforth be subject to the same rules for classroom
             use as are all other books which are not specifically approved by the board
             for a specific course.
             Those rules, which accommodate incidental or temporary use of unapproved
             books, are defined by statute, board policy, and the district's posted

It's a move many would view as in favor of MAS, but supporters say they don't trust it.  They are also demanding an apology for Stegeman's state hearing testimony which revealed a previous comment calling students "cult-like."

9 On Your Side asked supporters why they held their conference at his home instead of the district's building.  They said they were canvassing the neighborhood.

"And, if Mark Stegeman has decided to switch sides then I'm sure he wouldn't be offended by us doing it in front of his house," said MAS supporter Alanna Castro.

An hour and a half later, Stegeman came home, just after MAS supporters left.

"It feels a little bit like an ambush," he said, "I think if I had posted a message on facebook inviting the whole world to come to one of their houses and didn't tell them about it I'm not sure how they would feel about that."

9 On Your Side asked Stegeman about their demands for an apology.

"I was trying to compromise so for my role as a whole I have no apology," he replied.

Tucson Freedom Summer is circulating a survey to find out where residents stand on Mexican-American Studies and the current board.  They have received about a thousand completed surveys.