Students protest bill that would ban ethnic studies

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If state lawmakers have their way the Tucson Unified School District's Ethnic Studies program will be shut down -- for good.

Lawmakers feel ethnic studies programs promote the overthrow of the U.S. Government among other things.

Tucson high school students are upset about it.

Tucson high school students began standing in front of their school at 4 P.M. They plan to be standing on the same corner by 4 P.M. Friday -- protesting Arizona House Bill 2281.

If Gov. Jan Brewer signs the bill, it could soon force the Tucson Unified School District to shut down its ethnic studies department -- a program students and teachers here feel is vital.

It's a chance for people to learn new cultures and learn things about other people that they didn't know before.

Several state legislators disagree -- not only with the idea of Ethnic Studies in schools, but what it does in TUSD.

State superintendent of schools, Tom Horne, has been publicly speaking out against TUSD's program in particular, "It's just like the old south. They got everybody divided up by race. It's a terrible thing to do."

Under HB 2281, any school district promoting the overthrow of the U.S. Government, resentment toward a race or class of people, or designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group, could lose 10% of monthly state aid.

Superintendent Horne believes TUSD's program does all those things.

Sean Arce, director of TUSD's Mexican American studies disagrees, "We have no intentions of doing that. That is just crazy."

Arce says data collected through the program shows students -- particularly Latino students -- are more successful because of the program.

"There are those in the state legislature, there are those in political office that are using this as a political platform for their personal gain," says Sean Arce.

"...and I think anything that connects young people to going to school, involved with their community, their family, and their education is not wrong," continues Arce.

Governor Jan brewer is expected to sign House Bill 2281. If she does, it'll take effect December 31st.