Democrats come to aid of Scottsdale superintendent after controversial comments

Arizona GOP demands the Scottsdale school superintendent be fired for 4-year-old comments made when he was at a different district in a different state.
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 6:32 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2023 at 6:50 PM MST
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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Arizona lawmakers have a growing to-do list. There’s a water crisis to fix, an affordable housing problem to solve, and historic inflation to keep in check. Instead of focusing on those pressing issues, a group of Republican lawmakers held a news conference Thursday to get the leader of a local school district fired. It was the latest GOP effort targeting Scott Menzel, the Scottsdale Unified School District superintendent.

Last month, GOP Sen. John Kavanagh joined Reps. Joseph Chaplik and Alexander Kolodin in signing a letter that called for Menzel’s “immediate removal.” The letter appeared to reference a 2019 interview in Michigan, where Menzel spoke about “white people” being “problematic.”

District officials say the comments have been taken out of context. They provided Arizona’s Family with a written copy of the original interview, which was part of a broad discussion on social equity and inclusion.

The issue grabbed the attention of conservative media outlets across the country. Following the Republican press conference, Democratic lawmakers rush to Menzel’s defense. The list of Democratic lawmakers included Sen. Kristine Marsh, who’s taught in the Scottsdale school district for three decades. Marsh called the accusations against the Scottsdale school leader defamatory and said it diverts the district’s attention away from focusing on students.

Scottsdale is just one of several school districts where there’s been a marked increase in partisan political maneuvering.