Arpaio claims he was uninvited to school for political reasons

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PHOENIX -- Sheriff Joe Arpaio said he received an invitation to visit a classroom at a Valley school then that invitation was pulled for what he believes are political reasons.

It's Read Across America Week and Maricopa County's top cop was invited to read to sixth-graders at Sahuaro Elementary School in Phoenix on Wednesday.

Arpaio said his staff was told he was too controversial and his appearance might offend some families and he was uninvited.

"I'm a little concerned because I'm being accused of being too controversial and too many of the kids' parents are Hispanic that you would cancel my talk," Arpaio said.

However, Washington Elementary School District spokeswoman Carol Donaldson said it was a scheduling issue.

"We have several special guests across the week and it just became a scheduling issue for the class," she said.

"I don't know where the miscommunication happened, I wasn't part of any of the conversations," Donaldson continued. "It's unfortunate because we sure didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings."

"Why don't they face up and say, 'The sheriff is controversial, parents were concerned?'" Arpaio said. "I can understand that. Just tell the truth."

Parents who spoke to 3TV's Stacey Delikat said they have no problem with Arpaio coming to the school.

"It's fine," one mother said. "The kids need to know what he's doing."

"So long as he comes here to do what he's supposed to do, it's fine with me," a father said.

The school district said it is trying to reschedule Arpaio's appearance, but a date has not yet been set.