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15 arrested after Horne press conference on ethnic studies ban
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15 arrested after Horne press conference on ethnic studies ban

  • Students sit-in at the state office building as they protest the elimination of ethnic studies programs in TUSD.
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.comStudents sit-in at the state office building as they protest the elimination of ethnic studies programs in TUSD.

15 people were arrested during a sit-in downtown on Wednesday to protest the elimination of ethnic studies classes in TUSD.

Mostly students from Tucson High, those arrested were protesting following a press conference by Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Horne.

Horne, a longtime opponent of such classes, was in town to meet with officials from Tucson Unified School District. That meeting was canceled, but he held a press conference at the state office building downtown to discuss the new law.

TUSD officials put off the meeting, saying Horne had turned it into a political event. Horne denied doing so at his press conference.

About 150 protesters walked from TUSD headquarters, 1010 E. 10th St., to the state building, 400 W. Congress St., after learning that the meeting was canceled. They arrived downtown at 2 p.m.

After a protest outside, they entered the building at about 2:45 p.m., despite orders from Capitol Police to leave. When they discovered Horne was no longer in the building, about 15 students sat down on a second-floor balcony and refused to leave.

After protracted negotiations between police and the students, the authorities allowed the protesters to remain in the building until after its 5 p.m. closure.

The crowd of about 150 protesters on the ground floor were walked out by police at about 5:30 p.m. Police then ordered the media to leave the building, escorting each reporter out with three or four Department of Public Safety officers.

The 15 remaining were cited with trespassing. Four juveniles were released at about 6:30 p.m., and 11 adults at 7 p.m.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law Tuesday to ban ethnics studies classes in the state. The law takes effective Dec. 31.

HB 2281 bans classes that promote “the overthrow of the United States government,” “resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group” or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

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