From the Superintendent, Dr. John J. Pedicone

Photo of Dr. Pedicone

Letter to Staff, January 18, 2012

January 18, 2012

Dear Faculty and Staff:

You may have seen news reports or Internet blogs about a book ban at TUSD. Those reports are completely false. There are no books being banned in the district.

Seven books that were used as supporting materials for curriculum in Mexican American Studies classes have been moved to the district storage facility because the classes have been suspended as per the ruling by Arizona Superintendent for Public Instruction John Huppenthal. Superintendent Huppenthal upheld an Office of Administrative Hearings' ruling that the classes were in violation of state law ARS 15-112.

The affected books are:

Critical Race Theory by Richard Delgado
500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures edited by Elizabeth Martinez
Message to AZTLAN by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales
Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement by Arturo Rosales
Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by Rodolfo Acuna
Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years by Bill Bigelow

None of the above books have been banned by TUSD. Each book has been boxed and stored as part of the process of suspending the classes. The books listed above were cited in the ruling that found the classes out of compliance with state law.

Every one of the books listed above is still available to students through several school libraries. Many of the schools where Mexican American Studies classes were taught have the books available in their libraries. Also, all students throughout the district may reserve the books through the library system.

Other books have also been falsely reported as being banned by TUSD. It has been incorrectly reported, for instance, that William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" is not approved for instruction. Teachers may continue to use materials in their classrooms as appropriate for the course curriculum. "The Tempest" and other books approved for curriculum are still viable options for instructors.

Unfortunately, these false reports are appearing on numerous sites across the Internet. We have issued a media release correcting the misinformation and are taking steps to make news entities aware that there is no ban. We know that many parents of our students may have concern over what they may have seen in regards to a book ban. Please be assured that we are doing what we can to get the word out that the reports are completely false.

Finally, as you can imagine, these are very difficult situations that are made more difficult by information from sources that are not always reliable.  We will make every effort to provide the truth as quickly as we can.  I can only ask that you suspend your opinions when these situations arise until we can provide an accurate response.

John Pedicone