Arrests made at TUSD meeting, police presence questioned

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- In the wake of boisterous board meeting, there still is no decision on proposed changes to the Ethnic Studies program, and some people question the large police presence at Tuesday night's meeting.  Seven people were arrested.

A day after another huge protest at the TUSD board meeting.  Many have questioned the large Tucson police presence of dozens of officers.

"We keep a contingent in reserve in case things go wrong and they are out of site we had maybe 40 to 50 officers that were at different times used in the operation," said Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor.

During the meeting board members requested that some of the audience members be removed.

After the disruptive people were asked a couple times to leave, TPD escorted them out.

"No one was dragged out.  No one was carried out.  We may have grabbed an elbow or an arm in an effort to get them going but we let them go out on their own power," said Villasenor.

A total of seven people ranging from 19 to 69-years-old were cited and released last night.

Former Flowing Wells Superintendent Bob Hendricks believes having police on hand kept things from getting out of control.

"When ever you have congregating crowds partially when emotions are running high there has to be some kind of support," said Hendricks.

For the last two weeks, the school board meetings have gotten a lot of attention across the community.  Images the district may not be to proud of.

"If you can't conduct the business of the district because of disruptions then that's a problem," said Hendricks.

A proposed forum with community leaders and TUSD is in the works so both sides can get a better understanding.

However, Hendricks says a decision is going to have to be made sooner or later.

"Ultimately, at least in my management background, at some point you have to make a decision.  You have to move forward," said Hendricks.

As for future Tucson police presence at future board meetings, that will depend on TUSD request it from TPD.