There was this letter. A letter purportedly written by an Arizona substitute teacher complaining about the Hispanics in his classroom. The entire text of that letter is on David's earlier post.
There are things that bother me about that letter. Like this:
I am compelled to write to you about a recent event that occurred to me.
This person was substitute-teaching a language arts class. Really?
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.
I did find a textbook used in Arizona that has a section on a Mark Twain short story, but didn't find any related material in the Social Studies textbook. But really? Would a teacher of 8th grade Hispanic kids assign a paper thanking Steve Gallardo for his position on immigration rights? Presumably it isn't "illegal immigration rights", since the last time I looked there's no right to illegal immigration. By the way, that "position" was to argue for the withdrawal of Pearce's anti-immigration legislation because of the detrimental impact it would have on Arizona.
This "substitute" goes on to say he provided paper and pencils to the students. Unless Arizona schools are much different than other public schools, this surprises me. By 8th grade, students are expected to be responsible for bringing their own paper and pencils to class.
But here's where my eyebrows go even higher than Megyn Kelly's:
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?
It is unusual, to say the least, for any student to state in writing that they're in this country illegally. But for "most of the students" to say so is nothing short of amazing.
My radar was going off so loudly it could be heard on Mars, I'm sure. For the sake of argument, let's assume it was written by a Tea Party member and sent to King Racist, Russell Pearce. And let's assume for the sake of argument that he read it and said, "Hot damn, this is exactly what we need to read on the floor of the Senate!"
Is it coincidence that it was read right after Pearce's anti-immigration racist teabagging immigration bills were withdrawn from consideration by Arizona's legislature? Could it be that someone thought writing a letter like this might re-stir the controversy?
Well, if Senator Lori Klein is to be believed, it doesn't really matter whether it's true or not. Megyn Kelly sets this up by claiming Democrats are demanding an apology for reading such a racist letter in the floor of the Senate. Klein's response?
There's no apology necessary. Unfortunately today in our classrooms here in Arizona, California -- I've had letters from all over the country as well as other teachers here in Arizona applauding that I had the courage to read the letter. Because we do have a problem. We're educating and spending millions of dollars in our state, and if this is where our money is going our taxpayers have a right to know that this kind of behavior which is not acceptable from any race is happening in our schools.
Keep in mind, the discussion is taking place as though this letter has been authenticated and verified, so up to now, no mention of the possibility that it's anything other than genuine. Now as it happens, Klein is also advocating for a bill that would call for identification and "counting" of illegal immigrants, because (concerned face) "taxpayers deserve to know."
Finally, Megyn gets around to the possibility the letter is a fake.
KELLY: There are questions about whether this guy, Tony Hill, who claims to be the substitute teacher, exists. Now some are raising questions about it. This local news agency called five school districts in Glendale -- that's where he claimed he was from -- and all five said he never taught here, he's never been a substitute teacher here at all. And he also said -- he made claims about the students not wanting to read Mark Twain and the school district says we don't even have the kids read Mark Twain in 8th grade. So, what are your thoughts on that?
KLEIN: Well, the gentleman does exist, he's spoken with our Senate President [Russell Pearce]. He is a substitute teacher, he's on record as such, he's married to a Hispanic, by the way, so he's not a racist. But he identified a problem that we face. We have an organization here called La Raza which is a far leftist racist organization that is inciting young Hispanics to act out, not say the Pledge, spit on America and say it's our right to take America back. And this is really creating a problem here.
KELLY: Just so our viewers know, those are some of the allegations that Mr. Hill raised in this letter -- that they won't say the pledge, that they say we're Mexicans and Americans stole our land, that they say that they're in the country illegally, Americans are racists and so on. The things you just listed are in this letter.
So, to review. The only person who knows this Tony Hill is Russell Pearce, who is a known racist xenophobe who has an agenda aimed at Hispanics, legal or otherwise. And this Tony Hill just happens to report 8th graders behaving in a way which exactly dovetails with efforts to pass legislation to identify and count illegal immigrants in Arizona schools so taxpayers can "know." Oh, and this Tony Hill is married to a Hispanic so he's for sure not racist.
As it turns out, the Glendale School District has now confirmed a substitute teacher by the name of Anthony Hill, but they're not quite as quick to confirm other "facts" as stated in his letter. It seems that Mr. Hill was hired via a private service which the district uses when their contract substitutes are unavailable or assignments exceed the available number of substitute teachers.
The district records show Hill worked as a substitute at three different schools, but only two were with eighth graders: on March 9, when he substituted for an art teacher at Challenger Middle School, and on March 8, when he substituted for an eighth-grade reading, writing and social studies teacher at Harold W. Smith Elementary School.
The district interviewed students and the teacher at Harold W. Smith Elementary School.
"The district believes that the statements made by Mr. Hill in regard to our students and school were not accurate," according to the release. "Students who were interviewed did not recall making or hearing any of the inflammatory statements attributed to them by Mr. Hill, and students also said they stood for the daily recital of the Pledge of Allegiance."
Mr. Hill has substituted on nine days for that school district. I would like to recommend that he not be called to substitute for any more, not only because of his xenophobic views, but because anyone with such miserable spelling and grammar needs to take an 8th grade class rather than teach one.